Being a Dean’s Fellow and Lecturer at Habib University have been the best two years of my life. It has been one and a half years since I left Habib University to pursue my MSc. in Product Service Systems Design at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, but I miss the University even now. The support and encouragement I received there were phenomenal, and I would recommend all young aspiring researchers and academics to apply for the Dean’s Fellowship Program.
The freedom and encouragement I gained to design courses on topics that aligned with my research interests was one of the highlights of my experience as a Dean’s Fellow. In my tenure, I was able to design ten different courses, six of which I taught myself, and the other four were designed as part of revamping the Communication and Design Program (CND) curriculum. Not only was I able to offer CND specific courses but I was also able to offer courses to students from all disciplines through the Playground, a collaborative space built for ideation and design thinking. Teaching design electives to students who were coming from different majors was a very enlightening experience for me, as I had to ensure the course content I design is engaging for students who were familiar with the topic as well as students who were completely new to design.
It was incredible to be in an institution surrounded by very accomplished people who were also very humble and approachable. The list of Habib University faculty members who inspired me with their research and pedagogy is very long. I was particularly able to learn a lot from my mentor Dr Anzar Khaliq; we had many productive discussions about pedagogy and about my various research interests within the realm of design. His guidance on publishing research papers, and applying for various scholarships and programs proved very useful to me. As he peer-reviewed a couple of my courses, I was also able to learn from him new ways of approaching my course content and student engagement strategies.
Within the two years I spent at Habib University as a Dean’s Fellow, I learnt and grew so much as an academic, a designer, but most of all, as a human being. Each student I came across was brilliant in their own way, and each one of them was able to teach me something. The experience of designing and delivering various courses, as well as being involved in many other activities such as serving in the Faculty Senate, really enhanced my portfolio and skills.
After finishing my MSc. at Politecnico di Milano in July 2024, I aim to start my PhD; all the experience gained at Habib University is proving useful in my PhD applications.
But most importantly, from being at Habib University, and working closely with faculty and students, I was able to realise that I am truly passionate about teaching.
Written by Manahil Huda, former Dean’s Fellow at Habib University
[Learn more about the Dean’s Fellow Program at Habib University: https://habib.edu.pk/deans-fellowship-program/]