Engineering a Collaboration

June 1, 2005

The Pratt School of Engineering and Saudi Arabia's Effat College, a privately funded women's college, will collaborate on the first undergraduate engineering curriculum for women in Saudi Arabia.

Kristina Johnson, Pratt's dean, and Haifa Jamal Al Lail, dean of Effat College, signed a cooperative agreement January 30. The effort is funded by a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Program Initiative.

Pratt engineers will help Effat develop a bachelor's-degree-level academic program in computer engineering. The new program will complement Effat's existing program in computer science and include courses adapted from Duke's electrical- and computer-engineering curricula. The program may also include supplemental science and mathematics courses designed to prepare Effat students to study engineering.

Administrators hope to have the new curriculum in place for Effat by the fall of 2006. Duke faculty members will travel to Effat's campus in Saudi Arabia to assess the college's needs and launch the new courses.

"This will be the first opportunity for women in Saudi Arabia to study engineering, and we are excited and honored to be a part of this historic undertaking," says Johnson, the first female dean of Duke's engineering school.

Effat College, in Jeddah, is named in honor of the late Queen Effat, who founded the kingdom's first secondary school for women's education. The college now offers bachelor's degrees in computer science, information systems, kindergarten education, psychology, and English language and translation.