Statement to AUC Community

December 4, 2020

Dear AUC Community,

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have continuously and rigorously been considering how to provide the best academic experience in these very difficult circumstances. The Student Union has shared a number of areas of concern and we are sincerely doing our best to address them. Over the past weeks, the academic leadership and faculty held numerous meetings with students and Student Union representatives to discuss those concerns which fall within the purview of the Provost’s Council and consider various options to address them. 

Commencement

The vice president for student life, Deena Boraie, and the Provost’s Council have set the following dates for commencement ceremonies, pending health and safety guidance. We look forward to coming together in these overdue and well-deserved celebrations to mark a key milestone in the lives of our students and their families. 

  • June 2 - 3: Class of Spring 2020
  • June 9 - 10: Class of Fall 2020
  • June 17: Class of Spring 2021

Grading Policies

The senate has agreed to review AUC’s grading policies to make recommendations to the Provost’s Council for potential changes. This review will include student representatives. 

To address specific academic challenges in Fall 2020, we remind all students of the grievance and appeal process. In line with that policy and for any grievance that is not resolved and is appealed to the Provost, a special committee, consisting of the Advisor to the Provost John Swanson, three faculty members and the registrar, will carefully review each case.

Supporting Student Learning

At AUC, we are proud of setting the quality standards in higher education in the MENA region. AUC is dedicated to the continuous improvement of the quality of education. 

As we learned of the pandemic, the University implemented a holistic plan to prepare faculty for remote instruction. For students, we developed a web-based Quick Guide for Student Online Learning Success. In the last three semesters, AUC conducted eight different student surveys to understand and address the challenges of online learning. We shared specific recommendations with faculty to address the challenges that were identified in each course. 

Going forward, in Spring 2021 school deans and/or department chairs will hold regular meetings with students, starting early in the semester, to receive student feedback on any challenges the students might be facing in courses. This will allow us to immediately identify and address areas of concern. Additionally, the University will continue to run surveys for student and faculty feedback on teaching and learning to enhance the student learning experience. We strongly urge students to take full advantage of these two feedback mechanisms and communicate specific concerns as early as possible.

Once again, I know that the stress of the pandemic continues to impact each and every one of us. I would like to remind you of some resources available to help you manage these stresses. The entire AUC community can make use of the resources in our Keep Calm and Stay Strong stress-management toolkit. And any AUC student who feels they need additional support should reach out to our Center for Student Well-being

The work of everyone at AUC reflects our collective care, respect and appreciation for the educational and emotional well-being of our students. We are confident that through these various processes and plans, students can move forward toward the successful completion of the semester.

Sincerely,

Ehab Abdel-Rahman, Provost