Convocation Speaker Designed Diverse University in Bangladesh
October 11, 2012 –A Georgetown visiting professor talked about how she designed an Asian women’s college to “forge bridges” across different ethnic and religious groups during the university’s Fall Faculty Convocation Oct. 10.
Ann M. Pendleton-Jullian, a professor of architecture at Ohio State University, said the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, presented a design challenge because of the different backgrounds of the students the school hoped to draw.
“The potential to forge bridges across these different groups…is one that has the potential to change the sociopolitical context of the region,” she said of the then-potential Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian students from 14 countries. “This is not a small vision, this was a very, very large idea.”
Pendleton-Jullian served as the annual Aims of Education Address speaker during the event.
The annual Fall Faculty Convocation recognizes promoted and tenured faculty.
“Once again as this institution has done every fall, we gather together to recognize those who have advanced in the professoriate, to celebrate our shared commitment to this university and its mission and to consider anew the aims of the educational enterprise,” said Provost Robert Groves.
Pendleton-Jullian said during her talk that designing the Bangladesh campus incorporated visions to empower and engage individuals and create a sense of security.
“The idea that the envisioning – which was never in my purview before – became a part of my domain,” she said, comparing the experience to designing an ecosystem. “This is an incredibly empowering thing.”
The Asian University for Women opened in 2008 and continues to provide a liberal arts education to women from Southeast Asia.
During the convocation, 15 faculty members were honored for receiving tenure and/or were promoted in the professorial ranks of the faculty. Another seven also were promoted but could not attend the event.
Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, who introduced Pendleton, addressed the state of the academy, saying that the university finds itself in an “extraordinary time.”
“It’s a time that demands innovative thinking, deep collaboration among disciplines and creative solutions to answer some of the challenges that we face today,” DeGioia said.
The president said he was referring to challenges such as ensuring the best qualified students come to Georgetown regardless of socioeconomic background, responsibly expanding the university’s footprint and engaging more fully with the D.C. community.
“These questions call on us, require us, to develop innovative solutions and approaches,” DeGioia said at the convocation.
He added that Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit tradition helps guide and ground the university as it navigates the evolving complexity of higher education.
“One of the remarkable characteristics of this tradition is that it is never static,” he said. “Through your teaching and your scholarship, you are constantly enriching it, reimagining it, strengthening it.”