UAB serves as a global classroom

Almost 90 members of the Bangladesh Senior Civil Service came to UAB during the spring 2022 semester to receive training in various public administration topics.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has been home to thousands of international students throughout the years. But two or three times a year, it becomes a classroom to a group of individuals from the Bangladesh Senior Civil Service.  

The most recent visit, during the spring 2022 semester, was the first training session held since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout their 10 days at UAB, nearly 90 civil service members received training from faculty across campus, which covered topics such as blue economy, flood mitigation and earthquake response, sustainable development goals, cybersecurity, public administration decision-making, and transportation engineering.  

“UAB has a wide range of faculty members that are able to train on a wide array of civil service topics,” said Akhlaque Haque, Ph.D., professor in the UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Political Science and Public Administration.

After each day’s workshops, participants have the opportunity to visit local institutions and municipalities to receive hands-on training to apply what they are being taught in the classroom. During the spring session, site locations included Sloss Furnace, the Civil Rights Museum, and the cities of Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills.

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At the end of the 10 days, the civil service members present back to UAB faculty what they learned during their stay and what they hope to implement in their country.

“Because of our diverse campus and the vast selection of expertise, Bangladesh has moved this part of their program from other training centers in the United States to our campus,” Haque said. “UAB already has such a huge international impact, and now we are a staple in another country’s public administration training.”

The program was founded in 2018 by Haque with the help of Suzanne Austin, Ph.D., former UAB senior vice provost, and is continuously funded through a grant from the Bangladesh government. Since then, over 170 public Bangladesh senior civil service officials have completed training at UAB, which is now a part of the official national training curriculum for the country’s senior officials.