During my final exams last month, I thought about how I should spend a month of my summer break before my trip to Greece. I knew it would be really boring to do nothing for a whole month. However, thanks to the AUIS Admission Office, I was offered the opportunity to serve as a student instructor at the Summer Honors English Program (SHEP). I received an e-mail from the AUIS Admission office stating that, “this summer AUIS’s Admissions Office will be teaching its first ever AUIS Summer Honors English Program! The program is free opportunity for top English-speaking 12th graders to get free English lessons and learn more about AUIS!" I found the course really interesting and wondered how I could be involved. Happily, the e-mail also indicated that the Admission Office would hire active and experienced students from among the AUIS student body .Luckily, I was selected to assist one of the instructors and work as a student instructor. Now, I am experiencing some of the most beautiful moments of my life. An AUIS APP instructor and I are leading a section of the course. We have about thirty 12th graders. It is worth mentioning that SHEP is a chance for the best English-speaking high school students in Sulaimani to improve their language skills. We have a lively mixture of fun English group activities, group work, and some English projects every day. SHEP not only provides me with an opportunity to enjoy my summer break, but also gives me work experience for my future careers. What could be more interesting than being both an instructor and a student? It is a great feeling when you have the chance to be called a "teacher" while you are too young to have the title. SHEP dramatically increases my teaching and leadership skills. Every day, I learn something new as I work with wonderful students who are truly in love with the English Language and new ideas. More to the point, SHEP allows me to implement what I was taught in the Georgetown University last year. I spent last summer at Georgetown University in Washington DC. We had various academic and leadership training programs for three weeks. I would never be able to recall all the necessary skills I was taught during the program. However, one of my Georgetown professors said something at the end of the course that is always in my mind. He said, "Try to implement whatever you have learned over this course when you return home." Now, I am happy to be able to contribute the knowledge I achieved during the program in the States. I am so happy that I could keep the promise I made to my professor. SHEP reminds me so much of the great moments I spent in Georgetown. We do a lot of same activities and English projects here at AUIS. One thing that really brought tears to my eyes today was a statement that a group of the students wrote on their posters to me. They wrote, "We dedicate this to you dear Mr. Mahdy. We hope you like it." I was almost crying when I read the message. It was very similar to what I used to write on several posters I did last summer in Georgetown. The only difference was that I wrote for my professors last year, but this time some students wrote it for me. Last but not the least, I am grateful for all the contributions and enthusiasm that the students have shown during the course. I will never forget the great moments I shared with you all and will continue to share in the coming days this summer. You all bring more fruit to my life every day as we talk, walk, and do activities with each other.
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.