I made it through my first day at Education City. My day began at 4 a.m. when I couldn't sleep any longer due to jet lag and excitement. I got up, listened to music, surveyed my new surroundings, went for a walk, cleaned up, and waited for a ride to work; I don't have a car yet because all my immigration documents have to clear first and my appointment to do that is tomorrow (Wednesday). I took some pictures of my ville and will post these later. It really is a nice place, although I will need to do some personalizing of the space.
The big surprise was that 1/2 hour after getting to the office, I was informed that I needed to go to the Foundation Headquarters building to meet with the Executive Committee of the Board. Dr. Abulla Al-Thani, to whom I report, was reporting on the reorganization of his area and he wanted me to attend to meet the Board. This was my first opportunity to see the Board, and especially the Board chair, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah. The Board was very interested in the work of the Faculty and Student Services area, especially issues of student housing and building a campus culture that is attractive to students and deepens their learning. It is very clear that there is deep understanding about the need to establish a collegiate experience for Education City students.
After my day was concluded at the office, I went over to the LAS building which is where Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown now make their homes. The building was full of activity with the Georgetown students attending a lecture of an Islamic studies expert and the Carnegie students watch "An Inconvenient Truth." It is very evident that students are interested in being involved, in exploring contemporary issues, and in deepening their learning.
The combination of the vision of Her Highness and the responsiveness of Education City students bodes well for the work ahead. It's a matter of getting the work done, the buildings up, and working jointly with the branch campuses to design initiatives that fit for their students. Sounds easy but there's a lot of work to do.
I'm tired tonight and will likely go for a walk, eat, and then let my body collapse. Once I get back in the groove with the timezone, I'll have more opportunity to think. In the meantime, I just need to pace myself, keep up my exercise, and enjoy the music on my ipod.