About PFDP

Program Summary

Launched in 2005, the Palestinian Faculty Development Program (PFDP) is an initiative that aims to increase capacity within the Palestinian higher education sector and address long-term issues of reform in teaching and learning practices at colleges and universities in the West Bank and Gaza. Funded by USAID and the Open Society Institute, the $25.7 million program will encourage the professional development of promising young academics who are teaching in the social sciences and humanities; revitalize and reform teaching in these areas; and promote an institutional culture of teaching and learning to ensure that the PFDP’s impact will continue beyond its ten-year lifespan.

Main Goals

  • Academic development of promising young faculty in selected fields including international relations, social work, public policy and administration, education, and urban planning:

  • Strengthening faculty capabilities in areas such as research methodology, academic writing, public speaking, presentation and leadership skills, and English language

  • Encouragement of sharing of best practices and research among the broader Palestinian academic community through academic colloquia and other activities


  • Short-Term Fellowships:An innovative nondegree faculty exchange program designed to encourage the pursuit of academic careers, generate new approaches to curricular and pedagogical reform, and provide scholarly research opportunities. Fellowships involve 3-5 months spent at a U.S. university and are open to part- or full-time faculty at Palestinian universities and colleges who teach in the social sciences or humanities.

  • Seminars at the Central European University: Short-term professional development opportunities for Palestinian faculty working in senior administrative roles, taught by CEU staff locally or at CEU’s campus in Budapest, Hungary. Topics have included Institutional Self-Study, New Issues in University Management, Integrated Student Services, and the Bologna Process. 

  • Faculty Grants: Awarded to outstanding instructors, these grants of up to $25,000 each are designed to support the scholarship and best practices of teaching and learning within Palestinian universities and colleges.

  • Collaborative Projects in Teaching: An initiative to support projects that develop scholarly and innovative undergraduate teaching and critical rethinking on specific subjects within the social sciences and humanities.

  • Teaching Excellence Awards: Amounting to as much as $2,000, these awards recognize faculty for their outstanding achievement in teaching while spotlighting the importance of teaching in higher education, inspiring teachers within academia, and recognizing success. 

  • Academic Colloquia: Held each year, the annual colloquia provide academic faculty in the West Bank and Gaza a local framework for exploring excellent teaching and scholarship across disciplines and a forum in which they can network, exchange ideas, and present research. 

  • Seminar for Excellence in Teaching: A two-part, 80-hour certificate program that exposes faculty to a variety of teaching approaches and key issues associated with course design. SET helps faculty cope with the increasing demands for professionalism within Palestinian higher education and encourages an understanding of the university teacher as a professional scholar ready to engage in teaching that is informed by research and discussion of models of good practice..

  • Faculty Development Series: Workshops, seminars, and lectures aimed at bringing faculty together to discuss and debate trends or issues in higher education, thereby providing a forum for communication, faculty networking and professional development, as well as spotlighting visiting international scholars and/or local expertise.