AUC's New Associate Provost for Assessment, Accreditation Zeinab Amin is On Board
During her 13 years of service to AUC, Zeinab Amin has worn multiple hats, from being a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science to her position as associate dean in the School of Sciences and Engineering to being appointed associate provost for assessment and accreditation. Amin's main priority has always been to help AUC " stand out in an increasingly competitive market and demonstrate a vote of confidence that the quality of our programs meets or exceeds standards set by experts in the field."
What’s your main role as the associate provost for assessment and accreditation?
I am responsible for the development and implementation of an effective plan for evaluating program quality and ensuring continuous improvement of academic programs as part of AUC’s wide plan of institutional effectiveness. I am also responsible for developing and implementing academic leadership development activities as well as the implementation of effective and sustainable assessment of faculty and academic officers. I support schools and academic departments in all aspects of the accreditation process to maintain existing and seek new international and regional accreditations.
What do you like most about AUC?
AUC is one of the very few places in Egypt where Eastern and Western cultures merge, and you get the best of both worlds. I like AUC’s vibrant intellectual environment and its unique cultural life. I like the campus landscape design, and I love the University gardens!
What are your priorities during this coming year?
My top priority this coming year is to develop and start the implementation of the academic program review process at AUC. The review process ensures that each and every degree program at AUC undergoes a comprehensive cyclic process of assessment of quality, potential, and sustainability for the purpose of enhancing academic quality and the student experience, and ensuring resources are used efficiently and allocated to support AUC’s mission and strategic plan.
How will your experience as a faculty member and associate dean in the School of Sciences and Engineering be of benefit in your new position?
During my 13 years of service to AUC, I had the privilege of serving on numerous committees at the departmental, school and University level. My attitude has always been that if I am going to do something, I should bring real passion and energy to my role and put forth my best effort. This passion got me involved in almost every academic aspect of the University and introduced me to nearly every office on campus. My long service in the University Senate helped me broaden my knowledge in the areas of curricula, academic programs, established policies, University governance and other areas of student life.
Serving as an associate dean in the School of Sciences and Engineering that has over 2,000 undergraduate students, 10 departments, 13 undergraduate programs and 16 minors has been a great learning experience and an opportunity to develop personally and professionally. Being an associate dean, you wear many hats — from providing oversight for academic programs to accreditation to leading curriculum development efforts to providing advising and academic support to students to handling students’ petitions and grievances. I believe these experiences have paved the path for my new role.
What will be your main strategies for AUC to obtain new international and regional accreditation?
When we seek accreditation for academic programs, we are basically saying we want to stand out in an increasingly competitive market and demonstrate a vote of confidence that the quality of our programs meets or exceeds standards set by experts in the field. To get this recognition of academic excellence, departments offering these programs must be willing to go through a very rigorous self-assessment and peer evaluation process.
This is a change in the culture of the department, and if I wish to lead this change, inspire people to achieve this goal and increase the likelihood of success, I must get alignment and communicate for buy-in. I must also understand why some people may resist this change and be willing to handle the resistance process.
You played a significant role in AUC’s actuarial science accreditation, as well as ABET reviews for the actuarial science, biology and petroleum engineering programs. What other programs will you be focusing on?
I am currently working with the Department of Physics in the School of Sciences and Engineering on their application for the initial ABET accreditation of the undergraduate physics program. I see program accreditation as valuable, and I will encourage and work with any department to support their efforts in compiling program-specific documentation for accreditation.
Continuous assessment and accreditation have always been a cornerstone of AUC. What are your plans to build on this success?
The team of the Office of Strategy Management and Institutional Effectivenesshas gone a long way in creating and sustaining a culture of assessment at AUC. We have maintained an excellent working relationship for years, and I look forward to closer collaboration with this amazing team.
On the other hand, I will develop and lead the academic program review process that ensures each degree program at AUC undergoes a comprehensive cyclic process of assessment of quality, potential and sustainability. I will oversee the design and implementation of the annual and term reviews for academic officers. I will ensure the implementation of an effective and sustainable annual assessment of faculty. I will implement the action plan of the Provost’s Task Force on Tenure and Promotion to enhance the tenure and promotion review process at AUC.
You had received the 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award at AUC. What do you like the most about teaching?
Teaching is the most rewarding career. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your students grow and evolve every day. I believe that the key to good teaching is both enthusiasm and command of the subject, and the key to a good teacher-student relationship is seeing students as individuals. My relationship with my students outside of the classroom is as important as anything that goes on inside. In this respect, I do not wait for those out-of-class relationships with students to happen by chance. I make it happen intentionally by cultivating mentoring relationships with my students. My students know they can come for an individualized and one-to-one interaction, and they feel comfortable with sharing their personal values, beliefs, concerns and issues. There is nothing more rewarding than making an impact on someone’s life, and that’s what I like most about teaching.
Will you still be teaching at AUC?
The administrative responsibilities of this position necessitate full course relief, but I love teaching, and I highly value my relationship with students, so I hope to be able to teach at least one course every semester.
Favorite movie: I do not consider myself a movie lover. I am not a TV fan, and I go to movie theaters once or twice a year.
Favorite book: I have read many inspiring books, but I think the one that had the most significant influence on me was Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
I read the book more than 10 years ago, yet I never forget his advice on the only possible way one can prepare for the future: “To do today’s work superbly today.” I always remember Carnegie’s words, “The load of tomorrow, added to that of yesterday, carried today, makes the strongest falter. ... Anyone can do his work; however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely till the sun goes down, and this is all that life really means.”
Favorite music: I love classical music. It makes me feel I am at peace with the world. I am also a fan of Um Kulthum.
Favorite activity: I love painting, reading, walking in nature and meditating.
Your hero/role model: I do not have a specific hero or role model because I do not aspire to be like anybody or live a similar life like someone, I’d rather be a better version of myself every day.
Greatest inspiration: I enjoy listening to motivational speakers a lot, and I find their words powerful and inspirational. My favorites are Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle.
Accomplishment you’re most proud of: I am proud of the decision I made in 2008, two years after joining AUC, to pursue the ASA designation of the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
The SOA is the leading provider of globally recognized credentials establishing actuaries as business leaders, who measure and manage risk to support financial security for individuals, organizations and the public.
This was a five-year journey of hard work and determination at a time when I had very heavy teaching and service loads at AUC. In 2013, I became an enrolled Associate of SOA and a registered actuarial expert at the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority. This fascinating combination of statistics and actuarial science allowed me to enrich the curriculum and teach a variety of probability, statistics and actuarial science courses at AUC.
Something people don’t know about you: Not many people at AUC know that I am a grandma of two adorable grandsons, Adam (20 months) and Youssef (3 months). They are a blessing.
What problem do you wish to solve in the world?
I am more concerned about Egypt than about the world. I am quite concerned about the gradual and persistent changes in social norms, values and ethical issues over the years. I am worried about the growing phenomenon of lack of tolerance and the lack of respect for human rights and the right to freedom of opinion and expression.