"The Daily Star Campus Stars" is a show that highlights promising individuals who have excelled in their academics and extracurricular activities, alongside securing success in their professional paths. The second episode of the show took place on June 1, 2021, featuring panelists from University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).
The online event was hosted by Shuvashish Roy, Head of Business, The Daily Star. The speakers included Professor Imran Rahman, Dean, School of Business, ULAB, Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam, Department of English and Humanities, ULAB, and Dr Samiya Ahmed Selim, Director, Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), ULAB.
ULAB alumnus Ghulam Sumdany Don, Corporate Trainer and Chief Inspirational Officer, Don Sumdany Facilitation, and Soudatun Nahar Abony, a student of BBA, School of Business, ULAB, were also present.
ULAB strives to incorporate values of liberal arts and sustainability in their curriculum. According to the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2021, the institution is placed at 156 in SDG 17 among 1115 global universities.
"Liberal arts teach people to think critically and question assumptions," shared Shuvashish Roy. Manzoorul Islam regarded ULAB as the pioneer of liberal arts education in Bangladesh.
Imran Rahman emphasised on the importance of students having co-ownership in the learning process. "The pandemic has shown how students are taking charge of their learning. At ULAB, we promote this culture by making them passionate about active learning," he asserted.
Looking back at his university days, Don Sumdany appreciated the role ULAB played in making him what he is today. "ULAB's robust curriculum allowed me to major in Media Studies and Journalism. I also earned a minor degree in Business Studies. It introduced me to a range of extracurricular activities and made me explore my hidden skills," he added.
Soudatun Nahar said that the institution has a welcoming atmosphere, as the teachers support students in all their endeavours. She is the current Vice President of ULAB Chess Club and is actively involved with several other clubs. "I have dealt with unprecedented circumstances by gaining real-life experiences. These things go beyond classroom learning and enhance our life skills," she further said.
ULAB also promotes sustainability in their courses as they integrate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the educational curriculum. "We have introduced a minor course in sustainable development, thereby linking it to various other courses. Furthermore, we have mapped the SDGs to all our courses," shared Dr Samiya Ahmed.
Recently, ULAB collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), for building youth capacity in online communications for the SDGs. "We are going beyond classroom learning, using creative skills to achieve these goals. Through active involvement of students, we wish to incorporate these skills into their lifestyles," added Dr Samiya Ahmed.
ULAB encourages real-life learning amongst students, and supports many of them by providing financial assistance. To ensure the mental well-being of their students, they collaborated with Moner Bondhu, from where students can avail confidential one-to-one counselling.
"Individuals need to chase their passions to excel in life," shared Manzoorul Islam. "Teachers must motivate students to work outside the class curriculum. At ULAB, we help students find their passions, and identify their strengths and assets."
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