End of Year Message from the President

Dear AUC Community,

This week marks several important milestones to commemorate the end of another successful academic year at AUC. We returned to a University-wide commencement for the undergraduate and graduate Class of 2022 in two ceremonies that brought together all of the faculty, graduates and families in what is perhaps the single most iconic event in the life of a university.

While the ceremonies were an opportunity to celebrate the Class of 2022 and their families, it was also a chance to reflect on the lessons of the pandemic and to remember the students, faculty and staff we lost this year. We must continue to honor their legacy and remember them always as beloved members of the AUC community. 

We also completed our first full year of face-to-face instruction on campus since the start of the pandemic, taking gradual steps to ease pandemic restrictions. As we remain watchful and ready to respond to changes, all indications are that we can look forward to regular operations in the fall.

This week we also welcomed the Board of Trustees to campus, where they met with faculty, staff and students. They approved the budget and recommendations for faculty tenure. They also engaged in in-depth discussions on the many ambitious plans we have for the year ahead, including campus expansion, AUC’s positioning, an integrated student enrollment strategy and additional housing for faculty and students.

Today, we also formally launched AUC’s Climate Change Initiative, which represents the University’s contribution to national and global efforts in confronting one of humanity’s greatest challenges of our time. We must deploy our faculty’s expertise across a range of disciplines in the search for solutions to climate change that are relevant to Egypt and the region. We look forward to participating in COP27 in the fall and continuing to work on this priority area in the years ahead.

Budget Updates

Despite the challenges the devaluation presented in our ability to balance the budget, we prioritized the need to blunt the impact on the two groups most affected — our students and staff. We will not be introducing any increases in the tuition rates in USD next year. Nonetheless, because our tuition is denominated in dollars, we recognize that this will represent a significant increase in EGP terms for the families of our students. The University remains committed to ensuring that no current student is unable to complete their education at AUC due to an inability to pay.

In recognition of the hard work and contributions of staff members and in light of the difficult economic conditions, the approved budget includes a provision for permanent base salary increases for staff at all levels. This year, we will be applying a flat rate increase for EGP-denominated salaries ranging from 5 to 20 percent, according to level. Those in non-managerial positions below level 10, who represent 70 percent of staff, will be receiving the largest increments. In addition, staff whose salaries are denominated primarily in US dollars, including US-based employees, will receive a 2 percent increase. HR will communicate more details on the staff increases and plans for the introduction of a completely new, competency-based performance management system that is simple, intuitive and consistent with the best in US universities.

The budget also includes a provision to recognize the invaluable contributions of the faculty who will receive an average of 2 percent. The provost will allocate the increases based on the step merit review system and the evaluation of chairs and deans.

Key Priorities

Last month, I announced the launch of AUC’s Mental Health Initiative, which will be a priority next year. Our focus on mental health comes as part of a larger push to overhaul and strengthen all aspects of our ability to support students and ensure a positive, transformative AUC experience. While we continue to work on the academic side, what happens outside of the classroom and on our campus cannot be overstated. We are looking at the entire AUC journey from the ways we recruit students and integrate them into the campus community to co-curricular activities and a wide array of support services to ensure their success.

 We are also looking at how we can better deploy our iconic Tahrir Square campus along several tracks including arts and culture, special academic programming and continuing education. The goal is to arrive at a coherent strategy for how we leverage our presence in Tahrir and New Cairo as part of a single strategy for AUC. 

Another area of focus is on enhancements to our operations on a number of fronts, including our approach to budgeting, campus services, information technology, human resources and planning for future expansion. Our most valuable resource is our people. The faculty, students and staff of AUC are the enduring differentiator that sets us apart. In order for us to fully support them, we need operational excellence and innovative leadership to find community-based solutions to challenges, including organizational culture and a century-old bureaucracy. 

At the heart of delivering on the intellectual promise and quality education that are the hallmarks of AUC is a mindset rooted in service: service to our students, service to our community, service to each other and service to the highest aspirations of our fine institution.  

Ahmad Dallal