Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.30
By Sabina Ahmedova - Trend
Trend interviews ADA University Provost and Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Patrick Quinn
Dr. Patrick Quinn is a provost and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at ADA University since August 15, 2013. Dr. Quinn was formerly the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Chapman University in Orange County, California from 2009 to 2012. He was the Chair of the Department of English at the University of Mississippi from 2006 to 2009 and the Dean of Humanities and Arts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts from 2002 to 2006. His academic career began in Canada and has given him the opportunity to teach and administrate in England, Greece, Germany, Iraq, and the United States.
- Dr. Quinn, you joined ADA University in August 2013. What was your main motivation to join ADA University in this part of the world?
I was working in Turkey as a professor before I arrived. And I have been administering in the United States and United Kingdom for about fifteen years. The main reason why I came to ADA University was the idea of opening something new, working at the very basics of founding a university, bringing an education to a country like Azerbaijan with all the different ideas that I've picked up in my career. So it was a very exciting opportunity to come and build a stronger university. It sounded like something I have always wanted to do. For me, this is an idealistic vision of helping the people of Azerbaijan to develop a great educational program.
-Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy was recently transformed into a full-fledged University with a decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev. How do you think this will affect the future expansion of the University?
-It is natural that ADA is going to expand. As soon as the university begins to think about all the subjects - business, the sciences, education aspects, all this sort of things - it is going to have to expand. And I hope that we will continue to work hard in this direction. Any university that is expanding will have many more opportunities for different courses, different ideas. I think the exciting thing is when a university is full-fledged, a comprehensive body, it is going to become a much more dynamic and exciting place. And that has already happened at ADA University. We have already felt this energy in this school. We will go from being 700 students to something like four-five thousand in the next five years. That's all expansion, and it's all coming down.
- How will ADA University develop its international cooperation?
The ADA University has signed memoranda of understandings with around 45 different international universities about exchange partnerships. We are also working with Michigan State University, the USA, and the University of Glasgow in the UK to develop and help us build our new School of Education.
And then of course, the international student body, as we grow and become more popular as a choice of where to go. We already have students from around 30 countries now, and that will expand. I believe this will also affect our research projects. As our faculty matures, and grows, there will be a lot of exchanges with other faculties from all over the world. All these things will benefit us when we grow.
We have to get our students prepared for the new world. Azerbaijan is great oil producing nation, this is going to be very important for Europe and for Asia as well. All these programs are put together to bring us to the world and bring Azerbaijan to the world, and bring the world to Azerbaijan. That's the motto that we have.
- ADA is a state higher education institution. Will state agencies prefer hiring graduates of ADA University?
- What we're trying to do here is to change the face of education in Azerbaijan and part of that means developing ways of teaching and learning that are different. At ADA University we create graduates who can deal with complexities and strategies of the new world. So we hope we will then tap in to the government and to the state agencies which are looking for forward thinking, intelligent, critical thinking, well-educated students who will also have fluent English and enhanced world-view. In other words, our aim is to create a new generation of students, new kind of graduates that face the future confidently with critical thinking ability and a broad spectrum of ideas.
-What is ADA University's policy on attracting new faculty members and professors?
- ADA University prides itself in academic excellence, innovative teaching and learning. Teaching here has already developed into an irrefutable career choice for many Azerbaijani and foreign PhDs who excel at teaching, research and public outreach. We are now in the midst of bringing more young, enthusiastic and bright-minded faculty from abroad as well as from Azerbaijan to ADA University. One of the ways we do it is ADA University PhD Fellowship. This Fellowship is designed to support Azerbaijanis pursuing their PhD studies at recognized schools in Europe, North America and elsewhere throughout the world. It aims to reverse the brain drain from Azerbaijan in the fields relevant to our teaching by attracting outstanding Azerbaijani PhDs back to the country, specifically ADA University.
We are also bringing well-known international conferences to ADA University to make people aware that we are a comprehensive university. To provide a platform for communication, collaboration and networking among Azerbaijani PhDs and PhD candidates, to present ADA University as a hub for local talents, ADA University also hosts Annual PhD Workshops.
So as we continue with our work and set this education system, it is like a snowball effect. You start and the snowball begins to roll and gets bigger and bigger and the place becomes exciting and diverse itself, people hear about this and they want to know more about us. All these things play together to create this great comprehensive university that we're building.