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Resilience: Rahim’s Story Seeks to Empower Others

Resilience: Rahim’s Story Seeks to Empower Others

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

This is when those project management skills really pay off.

Dr. Emad Rahim, the Director of the Project Management program at the University and the Kotouc Family Endowed Chair for the Project Management Center of Excellence, has a lot on his plate these days. He recently helped secure accreditation for the Master of Project Management program through the Global Accreditation Center (GAC) and published an autobiography/self-help book Resilience: From the Killing Fields to Boardroom, all while juggling his teaching responsibilities and a hectic speaking schedule.

bookRahim’s escape from the killing fields of Cambodia to success in the United States is well documented. In his book, he recounts his struggle both in escaping Cambodia and the rough times he experienced with an abusive stepfather in his early days in Brooklyn, New York.  Resilience goes beyond autobiography and offers advice on how others can overcome adversity as well.

“I’m pretty humbled and excited about it,” Rahim said. “I share my own story about my journey and how I overcame adversity surviving the concentration camps of Cambodia, the streets of Brooklyn, to finding my way through academia. Much of my success has come through non-traditional education. Kind of showing that path that not everybody goes through traditional universities and some of us actually discovered higher education as an adult while working full-time.”

Rahim came to Bellevue University in 2013 as an evaluator for GAC assessing the University’s undergraduate Project Management program and was impressed with what he saw.

I really liked what I saw, I really liked what I heard,” he said. “The student-focused mission of Bellevue, that it was not-for-profit. It had a traditional campus, but it focused a lot on non-traditional education to support that adult student with that working family structure — I just really appreciated what I heard.”

emad-rahim-2Rahim was impressed enough with what he saw to investigate opportunities at the school — first as an adjunct and later as a full-time professor.

“I really liked the flexibility that they gave the faculty to provide different resources to students, to update the curriculum, to make it more meaningful to the students,” he said. “We as faculty at Bellevue focus a lot on mentorship and support. We do a lot outside the classroom in addition to inside the classroom. I’ve come to really appreciate that.”

The newly acquired accreditation for the Master’s degree is the latest feather in the cap of the Project Management program.

It’s the highest form of accreditation a degree program can earn by way of project management,” Rahim said. “Students know that all of our curriculum, all of our content, our teaching methods, our assessments, all of these things measure up to what other Universities that are accredited go through.”

The University’s Project Management Center of Excellence is a key component that helps differentiate the program. A blog that features articles written by practitioners, interviews with senior project managers from Fortune 500 companies, with additional content provided by students illustrates the value of the Center.

There are very few universities that actually dedicate an entire center of excellence to project management,” Rahim said.  “We focus on educating people not just within the curriculum, but with what’s trending in project management as well.”

An emphasis on the practical is one of the main components of the Project Management programs.

We have a practitioner focus. We want to make sure we prepare our students for a career in this field or to advance their career,” Rahim said. “Every time a student completes a course they have some things that they can put into their tool box. Every assignment that they complete is more than a grade, they’re developing templates, developing plans, developing presentation materials, developing spreadsheets. They’re creating artifacts that they can use as actual resources.”

In addition to all his work with and for Bellevue University, Rahim has a busy calendar. He’ll be at Cal State-Long Beach next month and will be giving another TedTalk in February at Upstate Medical University. He’ll also be in Costa Rica evaluating a school seeking GAC accreditation.