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
Development Studies is a fast growing discipline which combines skills and perspectives from the other major branches of social science including Economics, Politics, Policy and Administration with the principal intention of studying and exploring the broader discourses and challenges of development. Development Studies, I feel, provides a platform standing on which the students can learn the core of other disciplines, and develop a broader focus on the contemporary issues and challenges of development both in the country and beyond. The Department was launched in the early 2000s; although of relatively recent origin, we feel that the Department has already succeeded in establishing itself as a reputable institution both at home and abroad.
Ours is one of the most popular subjects in the social sciences faculty in the University in terms of the demand by the graduate and post graduate students for enrollment into our programmes. We receive laudation and appreciation from our diverse alumni and their professional associations. The Department is represented into the relevant national level government committee and panels on a regular basis. We also have functional links to several major corporate organizations in the country. Moreover the Department regularly receives requests from the leading national organisations to provide technical and professional services. Needless to say, this is a particularly relevant time for focusing on, and studying development in Bangladesh – since we as a nation are now striving towards achieving the ‘middle income country’ status, and we are also focusing on maintaining the pace of development that we have achieved over the last two decades. Keeping this focus in mid, Development Studies, as taught in this Department, provides an in-depth and inclusive analysis of the concept of development and in our academic programmes, we make a consicous effort to combine both the theoretical and practical dimensions of the concept.
We are very fortunate in the Department of the Development Studies to be able to welcome and nurture development practitioners representing a diverse background in terms of their professional expertise, academic background, age, ethnicity and demographic characteristics. I think the main attraction of professional courses such as the Master of Development Studies (MDS), Post Graduate Diploma of Development Studies (PGDDS) and the Executive Certificate program is that we always try to bridge theories and practice. Our interaction through these courses with our students provides us with an opportunity to learn from them and share our skills and experiences. This is mutually benefiting for both the students and the teachers.
You will be glad to know that we are planning to expand the number of seats in some of our popular courses. We would like to offer more opportunities for post graduate level professional people. We would like to focus on greater network and liaison with various national and international development organisations. Moreover we are working to get more publications and instead of confining our academic work to the ivory world of academia, we are concentrating on disseminating them in a language and form which will be more accessible to the development practitioners. We would like to make our professional services available to the broader sections of the society. Furthermore we also have a mind to provide greater number of scholarships and opportunities to more disadvantaged sections of the society.
I strongly believe that students graduating from this Department will be well equipped to face the challenges of the demanding world that awaits them. I would like to assure you that, I along with my team have been working hard to transform the Department into a centre of excellence. Hope you will join hands with us towards making this Department stronger in the years ahead.