ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT
The University of Dhaka has established the Department of Development Studies to provide challenging and innovative teaching in the field of development studies, a rapidly growing area of study concerned with the people, economy and society, and to foster high quality research on the problems of developing countries in general and Bangladesh in particular. Attracting students and scholars committed to interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of social and economic change, the Department shall promote greater public understanding, advance independent analysis, and encourage further professional competence on issues related to development with a view to contributing towards poverty alleviation, the overarching goal of the country.
The Department of Development Studies was established in the year 2000 to provide challenging and innovative teaching in the field of development studies, a rapidly growing area of study concerned with the people, economy and society. This area of study fosters high quality research on the problems of developing countries in general and Bangladesh in particular. Within a relatively short span of time, the department has grown fast and established itself as a unique institution of excellence with a degree of national and international repute. The department offers as many as 7 programs including the Undergraduate Program in Development Studies, Master of Development Studies (MDS), MDS for Bangladesh Bank Officials, MPhil, PhD and Certificate Program in Development Studies.
As a leading national think-tank, the department also organizes seminar, symposium and roundtable discussion on nationally significant issues regularly and renders intellectual input to ongoing development debate and policy issues. It regularly organizes specialized training programs for the government, business and NGO officials regularly. The department takes pride in hosting public lectures delivered by internationally renowned development entrepreneurs such as Mr. Kailash Satarthy, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Ms. Runa Khan, founder and Executive Director of Friendship and Mr. Kamal Kadir, CEO of BKash. In recent years, the Centre on Budget and Policy has excelled the department’s comparative advantage in research, training and policy advocacy. It has got a smart web-site of its own too. It publishes a bi-annual research journal titled the Dhaka University Journal of Development Studies. Faculty members and students have access to good number selected world renowned journalsthrough subscribed e-library membership.
The department is a home of a rich mixed pool of skilled and committed teaching staff- consisting of both nationally renowned professors as well as young high quality academics with multidisciplinary academic background and research track record. Faculty members typically pursue an active career –busy in teaching, research projects, conferences and seminars at home and abroad, national and international publications. Many of the faculty members have practical work experience in industries and global corporations too.
The department possesses one of the best physical infrastructural facilities at the University of Dhaka including a modern seminar library which is a repository of some thousand of books in the realm of development studies in Bangladesh and to some extent abroad. Financial support to build these facilities has been generously provided by a host of private sector organizations. The department has established full-furnished air-conditioned classrooms and a resource center with computer and internet connectivity for students. It is one of the few departments at the University of Dhaka which has got two conference rooms with the latest state of art facilities such as multimedia, public speaker system, air-condition and provision for uninterrupted alternative electric supply.
Class size has been kept small (maximum number of students in a class is 35) deliberately in order to manage the class efficiently and fairly and thereby provide high quality education to the students. Mode of teaching is participatory and inclusive. Medium of instruction of all programs of the department is English. Faculty Teaching Evaluation is regularly conducted to ensure quality of teaching. Led by a senior member of the faculty, the Department maintains an Institutional Quality Assurance Cell that serves as an internal watchdog on quality and ethical matters. The department encourages students to participate in the class to make it lively and it considers their opinion and contribution valuable and complementary. In most case, lectures are delivered through multimedia and PowerPoint presentation. Lecture handouts, reading materials and references are readily given to the students. The department provides good number of scholarships in two categories-need-based scholarship for the financially weak students and merit-based scholarship for high-performing students to take their study forward. Students very often participate in various events such as sports, debate, music completion both at home and aboard. It is worth mentioning that Dhaka University has won a Facebook-based anti-extremism campaign in a global competition (Peer to Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge) that saw participation of 160 teams from 70 countries. This team consists of students from a number of departments including Development Studies, and the delegation was led by a faculty member of this Department.
Graduates are well established in their own profession. Experiences so far suggest that development Studies graduates have high job prospects. Our graduates are currently found working in the government, business, non-government and international organizations with pride and reputation. Upon receiving prestigious scholarships including Fulbright and Commonwealth Scholarships, a substantial number of students go abroad for pursuing higher studies in reputed universities in Europe and North America. Students of development studies very often receive such national acclaim and recognition as the Prime Minister’s Gold Medal and Dean’s award.
MESSAGE FROM CHAIRPERSON
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the University of Dhaka. On behalf of the Department, let me greet all students, guardians, well-wishers, teachers and staff of yesterday, today and tomorrow of the University. Our observance fortifies the multiplier, coinciding with the golden jubilee celebration of our dear country, Bangladesh.
The University of Dhaka, with its origin in the political settlement in the juncture of the 20th century, has profoundly shaped the building of a nation. It is the intellectual lighthouse of the awakening in every moment of national aspiration. The University was the centre of the movement that led to the creation of the country in 1971, besides contributing to establishment of Bangla as one of the state languages and restoration of democracy. The University boasts educating leaders, scientists, poets, playwrights, lawyers and teachers alike, to serve the country. The distinguished scholars as faculties are enriching the global stock of knowledge through noted contributions.
At the moment, we are passing an unprecedented time. Our challenge is to set forth a road to recovery from the wounds inflicted upon us by the ongoing COVID-19. We know that we have to collectively knuckle down when there is work to be done.
Our focus is to build an internationally acclaimed centre of excellence through providing innovative teaching in the field of development studies, a rapidly growing area of study concerned with the people, society, economy and ecology, and to foster high quality research on the challenges of developing countries in general and Bangladesh in particular.
Since our beginning in 2002, we are attracting students and scholars committed to the study of social, political, ecological and economic changes. Our Bachelors, Masters, MPhil and PhD programmes are endowed with generation of skills, knowledge and citizenship in its core. We plan to strengthen our teaching and co-curricular activities to arm the students with critical thinking and problem-solving skills, besides cultivating citizenship, integrity, empathy, leadership, and services to society. We also have a mind to provide greater number of scholarships and create opportunities for disadvantaged sections of the society.
In our endeavours to contribute to the nation building, we plan to have more degree, certificate and training programmes for professionals in the government, private and third sectors such as the Master of Development Studies (MDS), Post Graduate Diploma of Development Studies (PGDDS) and the Executive Certificate Programme. Our acclaimed MDS programme for the officials of the central bank, Bangladesh Bank, has experienced us with the capabilities to move forward with many more such programmes. These programmes have opened doors to welcome and nurture practitioners representing diverse backgrounds in terms of their professional expertise, academic orientation and demographic characteristics.
Secondly, the founding spirit is our source of strength and the bedrock of our next centenarian goal. In an ahead-of-its-time convocation speech, the first vice-chancellor Sir Philip Joseph Hartog avowed: "A man may be an excellent teacher of elementary subjects without the power to add to knowledge. But in advanced work I maintain that no one can really teach well unless he has the combination of imagination with critical power which leads to the original production (of knowledge), and for that, if for no other reasons, a university to be a true university must see that its teachers are men who are also capable of advancing knowledge."
Accordingly, we want to transform into a research-led teaching department. This would require the faculty members’ reflection and actions for a transforming rejuvenation as an innovative and knowledge-driven powerhouse. The faculty members are committed to further professional competence, advance independent analysis, and instil greater public understanding. Cutting edge research, publication and dissemination will be strengthened to make an indivisible part of our lives.
The Department intends to further its ties to work with, and for, national and international stakeholders and communities in dynamic settings, through stimulating research, interactive dialogues, knowledge-driven conferences to advance exceptional ranges of theoretical interests and empirical evidences.
The Department has a strong trust in accountability and transparency, buoyed by our collective actions and decision-making processes through the different Committees and Sub-Committees. Further to the Academic Committee and the Coordination and Development Committee, the Department runs its affairs through Development and Partnership, Admission, Examinations and ICT Coordination, Research and Quality Assurance, Cocurricular and Student Affairs, Finance, and Purchase Sub-Committees.
Through our collective endeavours, we will achieve our milestones. Let us all join hands towards making the Department a centre of excellence.
Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, PhD
Professor and Chairman