In conversation with Dr Sabrina Joseph, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, American University in Dubai (AUD)
What initiatives have you taken to reduce the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on university operations?
At present, our utmost priority remains to safeguard the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff while ensuring a successful and rich online learning experience as they continue their academic journey. We are pleased to share that the feedback from both faculty and students has been resoundingly positive. Our courses are constantly being assessed. Final examinations have been adjusted to fit the new online environment and to enhance student’s engagement. In doing so, we have implemented international best practices, including a Pass/No-Pass option for all students and extended our withdrawal deadline while maintaining the academic excellence and attention to students as individuals that American University in Dubai (AUD) has embraced since its establishment in 1995.
In addition to the above, we have streamlined and digitised all of our internal and external document requirements, booking systems, academic resources, academic advising and other student support services that are now delivered online, for as long as needed.
Campus closure poses challenges for universities to evaluate and assess student performance at the end of the term. How will AUD evaluate students during this time?
Following the facility closure on March 15, the administration, faculty and staff instantly and seamlessly adjusted all course offerings and services to the online platforms that were set up beforehand for such a scenario.
Students did not lose a minute of classroom time and the learning never stopped. Students’ academic performance is evaluated through various assessment tools, including but not limited to research papers, projects, oral presentations, online exams and quizzes (with remote proctoring) and group work.
How do you plan to conduct admissions for 2020-2021?
More than ever, AUD is committed to applying a holistic approach to reviewing an applicant’s file based on their personal circumstances, ambition and experiences.
We empathise with the struggles of students — and educators — to last semester’s unforeseen challenges, and have updated the current admissions application process to ensure that students wishing to join AUD, can do so from their homes, until the current situation abates. At present, we require student transcripts of grade 10, 11 and the first semester of grade 12, along with their passport copy. Students who have not taken international entry tests (IELTS/TOEFL/SAT) can sit for the equivalent AUD Acuplacer entry examination.
The AUD Admissions Office remains open, working remotely, answering calls, emails and providing one-on-one assistance to students to ensure they are able to join us for the Fall 2020 semester. The virtual Campus Tours are being conducted by the Recruitment Office. Information is available at: AUD-Get-In-Touch.
Applications are being accepted for Fall 2020 and students can apply at: Applyonline.aud.edu
Do you have plans to introduce any new programmes this academic year?
AUD is launching a new Masters in Intellectual Property and Innovation Management, a Masters in International Studies and a Masters in Urban Design and Digital Environment this year.
The university aims to develop students’ real-world skills and nurture innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets.
What are some of AUD’s key strengths when it comes to ensuring student success, academic achievements and research capabilities?
AUD is one of the most established international universities in the UAE and the region. AUD undergraduate and graduate programmes have been formally accredited by regional and global independent bodies, attesting to the high quality of our programme offerings. The university aims to develop students’ real-world skills and nurture innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets. In this spirit, it promotes student engagement with industry mentors through its Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre (AEIC).
AUD’s faculty body is diverse and hails from top universities around the world, including the US, the UK and Canada. The university promotes research through its centres of excellence, including the Centre for Research, Innovation, and Design (CRID), the Infrastructure Sustainability and Assessment Centre, and the Centre of Research on FinTech, Blockchain and Smart Logistics.
Last year, AUD was ranked as the UAE’s top institution for employability. How do you close the gaps between education and employment?
AUD’s undergraduate programmes have a field experience or internship component. AEIC brings students together with industry mentors to develop their start-up ideas. Finally, the AUD Career Services Department works closely with schools in connecting students to employers and reaching out to new potential employers.
The AUD university experience leverages heavily on engaging the industry into the classroom, allowing for students to be engaged from day one in industry trends, discussions on industry disruption and to start building their professional networks. Additionally, the Career Services department plans regular CV clinics, workshops, mock interviews, company discovery sessions and more, along with the flagship annual Career Hunt, to really immerse them in the working world. AUD prides itself for being ranked as number one in the UAE for graduate employability by international ranking bodies.