Message from the Dean
It Is my great pleasure to welcome all undergraduate students of The American University in Cairo. AUC first made its name as an institution unique in Egypt — an American-style liberal arts University focusing on undergraduate studies — and this mission remains at the heart of everything we do. This is reflected, above all, in the commitment to excellence in the academic programs we offer: At AUC, you can major in anthropology or accounting, biology or business, comparative literature or computer science; you can choose from philosophy or journalism, psychology, history or Islamic art and architecture, or from a great variety of fields in the sciences, mathematics and engineering. Given this wide range, it is fitting that most students at AUC don't choose a major until their sophomore year — giving them time to learn both about the options available and, just as importantly, about themselves.
AUC prides itself on its continuing commitment to the liberal arts. In practical terms, this affects what you study, how you learn and what goes on both within and outside the classroom.
- It means that there is more to study at AUC than just the major: many students take a minor in a different area of study, or even double major, and every student at AUC completes the Core Curriculum, a basket of courses in a variety of fields that ensures wide exposure to different approaches and styles of thought, and helps develop the skills in critical thinking, listening and reading, discussion and written expression so vital for success at University and throughout life.
- It means that students should be active learners, not content to memorize facts, but committed to developing insight, to seeking novel approaches and creative solutions, to integrating varied points of view and, above all, to questioning: looking critically at their their own assumptions, as well as those of others, shedding new light not only on what is so far unknown, but on what is all-too obvious and commonly accepted.
- It means taking advantage of the outstanding sports facilities, the many clubs and activities, and, in general, the varied and vibrant student life AUC has to offer.
- It means that everyone from professors to support staff to student services professionals care very much about your academic and personal success while a student at this University and after graduation.
From your first contacts with this University — from the excellent support and guidance of the admissions office and the Academic Advising Center, through orientation and the First-Year Experience, and into the innovative classroom methods of the freshman program and Community-Based Learning classes, among others — you will know that AUC is a special place, with a special focus on undergraduate students. This will continue as you learn of the incredible resources and assistance available to you at the AUC libraries, there to help you along your own road of academic discovery. Because at AUC, it isn't just the professors and graduate students who create, discover and innovate — undergraduates do as well, and there is now an Office of Undergraduate Research that provides guidance and support for undergraduate scholars, artists, scientists and engineers, and organizes venues such as the yearly EURECA conference in which they can share their work with others.
Many of the programs I've described here can be found in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and I hope you will come by and find out more about what we have to offer. But it is on behalf of everyone involved in undergraduate education at AUC — which means almost everyone who teaches and works at this fine institution — that I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to all of you, and best wishes for successful academic study, and a full and rich experience in everything you do.
— Robert Switzer, dean of undergraduate studies