Duke Engineers to Collaborate with Saudi Arabia’s Effat College on Computer Engineering Curriculum

February 10, 2005

Duke University's 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.

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

Pratt engineers will assist Effat in developing a bachelor 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 curriculum. The program may also include new science and mathematics supplemental courses designed to prepare Effat students to study engineering.

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

"Partnering with Effat College is particularly meaningful for Pratt, as we have a very high percentage of women on faculty and women students at both the undergraduate and graduate level," said Johnson, the first female dean of Duke's engineering school. "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."

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 career-relevant bachelors degrees in computer science, information systems, kindergarten, psychology, and English language and translation.