Texas A&M University at Qatar
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|Type||State university |
Branch of Texas A&M University
|Endowment||$5.6 billion (Systemwide)|
|President||Michael K. Young|
|Provost||Dr. Carol Fierke|
|Dean||Dr. César O. Malavé|
|Students||542 (Fall 2015)|
|Undergraduates||493 (Fall 2015)|
|Postgraduates||49 (Fall 2015)|
|0 (Fall 2015)|
|Campus||Multi-versity Education City, 2,400 acres (9.7 km2)|
|Colors||Maroon and white|
Texas A&M University's campus in Qatar was established in 2003. The campus was set up through an agreement between Texas A&M and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, a private institution under the laws of the State of Qatar. The Qatar Foundation was started by then-emir Shiekh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife and mother of the current emir Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The campus was opened as part of Qatar's "massive venture to import elite higher education from the United States to Doha using the oil and natural gas riches of the tiny Persian Gulf nation". Since 2003, there have been 635 graduates.
The original agreement was for undergraduate programs in chemical, electrical, mechanical, and petroleum engineering. In 2010, an additional agreement established a graduate studies program in engineering. In 2011, a third agreement established a research program. The two initial agreements ended in June 2013 and in January 2014 a renewal agreement was signed for a period of ten years.
According to the agreement between Qatar and TAMU, the curriculum at the Doha campus will "duplicate as closely as possible" the curriculum at TAMU's main campus. Questions have arisen over whether schools such as TAMUQ in Education City are truly able to grant students the same freedom of thought, expression and association as is available to students at the U.S. campuses due to Qatar's much stricter laws that inhibit these freedoms. This causes doubt over whether TAMUQ can really uphold the same academic curriculum and academic standards as Texas A&M, College Station.
The 2014 agreement states that TAMU and TAMUQ are responsible for selecting and supervising all faculty and staff, admitting, enrolling and instructing students, developing plans to ensure the university satisfies the terms of the agreement, and designing and implementing the school's academic curriculum and programs.
The Qatar Foundation and TAMU established a Joint Advisory Board to oversee TAMUQ. Three members are appointed by each TAMU and the Qatar Foundation, and three members are jointly appointed by both sides. The board provides advice to the Dean of TAMUQ, reviews the budget, and conducts ongoing review and evaluation of the success of TAMUQ.
Texas A&M receives more than $76.2 million each year to operate its campus in Qatar. The Qatar Foundation purchases and owns all property, pays salaries, and reimburses expenses to Texas A&M for its campus in Doha. In addition, TAMU earns a management fee which is inclusive of all of its costs and fees for establishing, managing, and operating TAMUQ. In the budgets approved for FY2014 and proposed for FY2015-2018, TAMU's management fee is $8.2 million.
Tuition at the university is $28,900 for undergraduates. In the agreement between the two parties it is stated that "the tuition and fees for students at TAMUQ shall be no less than the highest rates applicable to out of state students at TAMU’s main campus". The Qatar Foundation is responsible for collecting all tuition paid by students.
According to the agreement, the Qatar Foundation is responsible for all financial aid awarded to international, non-U.S. citizen undergraduate students at TAMUQ. For graduate students, the Qatar Foundation will provide limited financial assistance to Qatari students who are not otherwise funded but is not required to provide assistance to non-Qatari students, although it may do so on a case by case basis.
The endowment of the program is owned by the Qatar Foundation and managed on behalf of the program unless a donor specifies that it should be otherwise managed. Property or equipment purchased by the Qatar Foundation or acquired through a gift to the Qatar Foundation are property of the Foundation. Anything acquired through a gift to TAMU or TAMUQ will be property of TAMU.
Texas A&M at Qatar also allows students the opportunity to participate in sports such as basketball and soccer. In the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the men's basketball team completed a historic run where they went undefeated for 46 straight games.
Texas A&M University at Qatar follows the same admissions standards in place at the home campus in College Station, Texas.
Texas A&M University has a research collaboration with Habib University in Pakistan.
TAMU agreed that the undergraduate population of its campus in Doha would be 70% Qatari citizens. About 40% of TAMUQ's students are women, a much higher percentage than in most engineering programs.
As with many other universities with campuses abroad, Texas A&M Qatar has drawn some criticism over whether it upholds the same standards for its Qatar campus as it does for its U.S. campus. Some critics have said that the pool of applicants for TAMUQ is smaller, which leads to a higher acceptance rate and a lower quality of students. However, there is no definitive evidence that the standards are actually lower and TAMUQ has often received praise for its Qatari campus and awards for the research performed there.
Activities in Israel
In the winter 2013, Texas A&M publicized their plans to open a $200 million "peace campus" in Nazareth, Israel. Student at the school's Doha campus protested the move with Qatari students claiming it was "an insult to [their] people". Shortly after, in May 2014, Texas A&M received $31.7 million from the Qatar National Research Fund. Texas A&M did not open the campus in Nazareth, instead opting for a much more modest $6 million marine research center in Haifa, Israel.
Contract with Qatar Foundation
In fall 2015, The Washington Post asked Texas A&M for a copy of its contract with the Qatar Foundation. Texas A&M originally declined and referred the request to the Texas attorney general's office. The Qatar Foundation's attorneys at the law firm Covington & Burling told the attorney general's office that releasing the records "would cause substantial competitive harm". The attorney general's office eventually concluded that the contract must be disclosed.
Death on campus
In May 2014, a laboratory worker was killed in an accident in the Engineering Building. The victim was Hassan Kamal Hussein, an Egyptian expat who worked in the lab. The campus and its students, in partnership with Qatar Charity, held fundraisers to help support Hussein's family in the wake of the accident. Since then an engineer who tried to fix the faulty equipment, and the equipment's manufacturer have been sued over the incident.
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