Dear AUIS Community:
The sun is shining brightly outside as I welcome you to the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. I am having a great time trading notes with friends who were off campus for the summer, and introducing myself to our impressive new students, faculty, and staff. The people at AUIS make our University an exciting and immensely rewarding place to be.
You may notice that our Facilities Management Department team has been working overtime (literally) to create several new state-of-the art laboratories equipped with top-line equipment and technology for our medical and scientific courses. This renovation work will continue during the coming year as we upgrade our campus facilities for “experiential learning” – learning by doing, especially to develop skills such as teamwork, communications, and leadership. New athletic and cultural facilities, including a new student center for meetings and the performing arts, should be complete by the start of the spring semester to provide new ways to learn and relax.
I am delighted to announce an increase in responsibilities for several of our longstanding team members. Dr. Robert Perrins is now Provost as well as Vice President for Academic Affairs, assisted by Dr. Tobin Hartnell, our new Interim Dean of Faculty. Dr. Barin Kayaoglu replaces Dr. Tobin as Chair of the Social Sciences Department, while Oliver Keels is our new Dean of Students. Dr. Rachel Gresk, formerly Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, is our new Vice President for University Advancement.
Recognizing the crucial importance of artificial intelligence, Dr. Hemin Latif of the IT Department has agreed to serve as the University’s part-time “AI Maestro” for the fall semester. Dr. Hemin will seek to identify how we can do great things with this amazing new technological partner while furthering the University’s fundamental mission of educating human beings.
Our new Alumni Relations Office is sponsoring an alumni dinner this fall that will help many of our former students reconnect with friends. Next spring, AUIS will once again host our annual University Day, which showcases our student work to the Sulaimani community. Our second University Day last May attracted thousands of people who admired what our students learn and who also enjoyed the ice cream.
As I announced in July to faculty and staff, this will be my eighth and final academic year at AUIS. A year is a long time, so it is much too soon to say goodbye. We all have great things yet to accomplish at AUIS, a distinctively independent, not-for-profit university that is operated for the public benefit. I am tremendously proud to have such wonderful people to work with.
Bruce Walker Ferguson, J.D.