A Live meeting with the President Dr. Bensaid took place on the 31st of May. It was broadcasted on the Student Community at AUI facebook group and on our facebook page. The live first and foremost aimed to strengthen and bridge the gap between the student body and the administration, in order for the line of communication to remain as transparent and truthful as possible. Second, and most importantly, it intended to tackle a variety of questions, that were gathered through an anonymous form, about the various topics that are causes for concern to our community.
Housing accomodation given the increase in admitted students
Funding is secured and construction will soon be launched for a new student center, academic buildings and residential buildings. What is to be expected for next fall will be similar to what was done during the 2012-2013 academic year. Meaning the usage of the downtown residence and an outside residential provider. The university will make sure that the quality of housing will remain complementary to what campus offers in terms of facilities. As SGA, our role will be to ensure that no student is accommodated unfairly.
The effect of the increase in admitted students on the AUI diploma
According to Mr President, and based on statistics and benchmarking on the different strategies used by American Universities, AUI is still very keen on basing their selection process on high academic standards such as baccalaureate mention and interviews with faculty. The removal of the GAT was mainly due to the pandemic, and according to Dr. Bensaid: “GAT results have proved to have no direct correlation with the students’ performance at AUI”.
MEPI Case and Safety on campus
During the live broadcast, it was made clear that the MEPI funding had no correlation with AUI’s budgeting. It was funding for a specific project called the “Tomorrow’s Leader Project” that was only paused until the situation was resolved. As a matter of fact, The MEPI gender audit report caused the funding to be paused because AUI was lacking certain instruments that are known to make a difference in the american model. However, we would like to emphasize and reassure students that every case that was ever received by the SGA or by the DSA’s office were handled with utmost seriousness and all went as far as the plaintiff requested.
The rationality behind the delay of the graduation ceremony is tightly linked to the national safety measures regarding events and gatherings. As the Kingdom’s sanitary situation keeps fluctuating, and in order to ensure that the commencement takes place in a safe and enjoyable environment, Dr. Bensaid assured that the university is doing its best to find a suitable timing for its students. The university assures also that this particular day holds a huge importance for the AUI community as a whole, which led to the decision of organizing a small internal celebration with students, waiting for the sanitary situation to stabilize.
Campus access restrictions for Fall 2021
The situation is still blurry as the pandemic condition goes on. According to the President “It is a tradeoff”. We remain hopeful for next semester to have better circumstances, allowing less restrictions for all students.
New program offerings for Masters
Numerous programs -thirteen to be exact- were newly provided during the past Academic years, in both the Schools of Science and Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences. Furthermore, a new “Digital Marketing” master was just launched. “We are not opening up programs, for the sake of opening programs. We do this because they align with the skills that need to be fostered in the 21st century” assured Dr Bensaid.
Hiring of new faculty and staff
For fall 2021, AUI is planning to hire more than 30 faculty for the different schools. Moreover, and with the hiring of Dr. Taylor as VPAA, the university aims to incorporate more undergraduate and graduate research, and more shared courses with the university’s international networks. All while having students’ satisfaction at its center.
The live meeting proved to be a very interesting new communication method. It allowed direct interaction between the student body and the administration. We surveyed students on instagram to assess the satisfaction with this live session and whether they want to have more of these meetings. The results showed a satisfaction average of about 93%. In the future, we plan to have more of these live meeting with other stakeholders in the university.