Prof. Kevin Mitchell Image Credit: Supplied

How do you enhance and sustain a culture of academic excellence at AUS?

For the past five consecutive years, AUS has been among the QS Arab World’s top 10 universities. Sustaining a culture of academic excellence depends on highly qualified full-time faculty, talented students, dedicated staff, maintaining an environment that values the various modes of enquiry, providing opportunities to transcend disciplinary boundaries, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The 350 full-time faculty members at AUS distinguish themselves through teaching, research, creative activity and contributions to their respective professions. A comprehensive merit-based scholarship programme ensures that we recruit the most talented students who go on to occupy leadership positions and earn graduate degrees from top institutions around the world.

How do you plan to evaluate students at the end of this academic term?

As per the directives of the UAE Ministry of Education, AUS is delivering all of our undergraduate and graduate programmes remotely to ensure that students can advance in their respective degree programmes or graduate if they are in their final semester.

Within an American curriculum model, evaluation occurs through the semester and the assessment of students is continuing. Immediately after the extension of online course delivery until the end of the semester was announced, AUS made a number of adjustments that included selection of a pass/no pass grading option for the semester.

What courses are you planning to launch in the next academic session ?

AUS seeks to initiate three new graduate programmes at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year: PhD in Materials Science and Engineering; Master of Science in Finance; and Master of Science in Construction Management.

How’re you coping with the sudden launch of e-learning due to Covid-19 restrictions?

The unanticipated change in the mode of course delivery after the start of the semester resulted in many challenges for faculty, staff and students.

Fortunately, AUS has had a comprehensive learning management system and technology to support remote teaching and learning in place for many years. We also benefit from a robust virtual IT support system. Therefore, we were able to make the transition earlier and have been offering online courses since March 8.

The ingenuity demonstrated across campus has been remarkable, which has allowed laboratory work and courses in areas such as music, drawing and design to be conducted online.

As a university, we are committed to advancing knowledge and developing new skills, and the current circumstances have offered many opportunities to learn together as an academic community.

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