Bethlehem, March 31, 2011 — The Palestinian Faculty Development Program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by AMIDEAST, held a launching ceremony Thursday to acknowledge the recent establishment of a Center for Teaching Excellence at Bethlehem University.
Bethlehem University was one of two West Bank universities to receive a $400,000 grant from USAID to create a center which would serve as a venue to improve education methods, diversify programs and create high academic standards in Palestinian universities.
In the process of developing the center, Bethlehem University partnered with Portland State University in the United States to exchange information and share experiences. The two universities worked together to finalize work agendas and train the center's new staff to enable them to manage the center independently. The overarching aim of this new center is to help develop an institutional culture of teaching and learning in Palestinian academic institutions.
The second university, An Najah National University in Nablus, will formally launch its Center for Teaching Excellence on April 7. It partnered with Northwestern University to develop the facility.
The Palestinian Faculty Development Program supports the revitalization and reform of undergraduate teaching within Palestinian higher education institutions. It also provides scholarships for Palestinian faculty to pursue graduate degrees in the United States or to engage in curriculum development, research, or teaching at an American partner university.