"The American University of Iraq in Sulaimani (AUIS) is a bold effort to train the next generation of leaders and thinkers," Member of the AUIS Board of Trustees, John Paul Schnapper-Casteras, on the challenges of rebuilding the shattered education system in Iraq, and how universities like AUIS can play a major role in fostering good governance and stability in the future. Read the full article.
AUIS Professor Bilal Wahab was invited to a panel discussion on Rudaw's nightly show - Rudawy Emro - on September 29, 2015, to discuss the role of universities and policy-relevant research in KRG. He also explained how the AUIS and its liberal arts education is different from the traditional educational curriculum, and how it can benefit and inform research and policy in the region. The discussion also focussed on the government's inability to benefit, culturally or institutionally, from academic institutions due to a lack of grant offices, think tanks and public fora. Watch the discussion here.
The purpose of the conference was to build an educational community within the region and to help high school teachers develop and improve their professional teaching skills. The two-day conference, which was organized by the University’s Academic Preparatory Program (APP), was led by Rachel Laribee, director of APP and Geoffrey Gresk, dean of students, with participation from several APP instructors and faculty members. “The more time we spend together - APP teachers and local high school teachers - the better the transition is for AUIS students.” said Laribee, “The more we engage in conversation about victories and obstacles that we face in our classrooms, the stronger education will be in the region of Kurdistan.” In the past two years, APP has been working to build an educational community beyond AUIS, and to provide an opportunity for high school teachers to learn from the American teaching style, while also strengthening AUIS’s relationships within the region. The conference included English-language sessions (demonstrations of grammar, writing, reading, active listening and speaking); panel discussions; presentations; and analyzing effective methods in English-language instruction. It also included STEM materials (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which was made possible through a grant from the U.S.Agency for International Development. “We provided two days of programming to local secondary and university educators,” Gresk said. “We discussed ‘Inverted Classrooms,’ modern teaching methods, and the next generation science standards.” The STEM sessions included thematic approaches to science education and how to bridge the gap between secondary school and university, as well as panel discussions about STEM curriculums and common practices in the Iraqi teaching style versus the AUIS teaching style. The attendees ranged from high school teachers to university lecturers across the region. Many of the attendees found the conference to be intellectually stimulating and useful. “I found out that our conventional teaching techniques and methods are out dated,” said Nawzad Mohamed, a chemistry teacher at Peramagrun High School. “Sometimes simple teaching techniques have a greater impact on the student’s learning experience.” Another teacher, Hero Ahmed, who teaches biology in the same high school said, “I find these conferences very useful, it broadens our horizon. I would definitely come back for the next one.” AUIS is hoping to arrange more education conferences in the future. The conference is free of charge to attendees, as it aims to provide professional development training for teachers and lecturers - either in high school or university - across the region. According to Laribee, the goal of the event is to share the most up-to-date effective methods in teaching instruction with local teachers and strengthen the university’s relationship with the community. Click to see more conference photos
April, 2015 - The American University in Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) is proud that the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) has granted the University’s Academic Preparatory Program (APP) a five year accreditation, from April 2015 to April 2020. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. APP Director Rachel Laribee has been leading the accreditation process since 2012. She emphasized that “For APP, the news for accreditation was wonderful. But the real gift of accreditation was the process that we have gone through the past three years, to make sure our program really is giving the quality instruction that we say we are giving.” She continued, “I hope our students realize that this process is for them. So that when they decide to come to AUIS, they are enrolling in a program that not only strives to follow best practices, but works to deliver quality instruction.” APP operates with a high level of quality, with an approved program of study, qualified instructors, adequate resources, and approved recruitment and admissions policies. And through the hard work of the APP staff and instructors, APP has acquired public recognition with this accreditation which indicates that it fully meets US and international standards set by the US Department of Education. “For APP students, accreditation ensures that they receive a high standard of education. This also gives them a competitive advantage in jobs requiring English skills,” explained Laribee. “For AUIS, this represents a first step towards accreditation for the university as a whole. University accreditation is important for the acceptance and transfers of credits earned, and is a prerequisite for many graduate programs.” Talking about some of the trials they faced during the accreditation process, Laribee said, “The main challenges we faced were finding the time to write the self-study and to formalize all of our policies and procedures, while still having to run the day to day functions. During this time, our program also doubled in size, so it was quite challenging to get everything finished within a few years.” Although she was leading the process, Laribee acknowledges the hard work of the APP staff and instructors in ensuring accreditation for the program. “Without the work of all APP teachers, this could not have been done. Stacie Long was a great help in writing the self-study, and along with the program’s Deputy Director, Katherine Yaw, all APP Faculty - those currently here and those who have since left- were a huge part of the process,” she said. The Interim President of AUIS, Dr. Esther E. Mulnix, was delighted to hear of the accreditation. She stated: “AUIS strives to implement its mission and live its vision to deliver quality education at every level. The community of trustees, faculty, staff, and students have all come together to obtain the accreditation of the English Program that APP delivers.” The Director of Enrollment Paul Craft added, “AUIS focuses on quality. APP’s accreditation by CEA certifies that our program is equal in quality to English language programs in the US, Europe or the Gulf States. Students can get a high quality education at Iraqi tuition rates and without leaving Iraq, the KRG or Sulaimani!” For further information about this accreditation, please contact CEA, 801 North Fairfax Street, Suite 402A, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 665-3400, www.cea-accredit.org.