Board Holds Virtual Meeting, Issues Statement of Appreciation


Last week, and for the first time in the University’s history, the Board of Trustees held its May meeting via videoconference. Convening more than 30 trustees and advisory trustees spanning five countries and several states, the virtual meeting focused on a discussion of the University’s COVID-19 response and implications for the future, an update on the campus master planning process, review of tenure cases and projections for the FY21 budget, which will be approved in June.

President Francis Ricciardone provided an overview of the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the twin priorities of maintaining the health and safety of the AUC community, while saving the Spring 2020 term for students. He also provided an update on the University’s progress in response to the operational and fiscal consequences of the pandemic. Provost Ehab Abdel-Rahman presented the current planning underway for Fall 2020 and beyond, including the work of two faculty committees that are studying more than 15 possible scenarios for the fall and a second committee reviewing lessons learned from the crisis. After hearing the president and provost’s testimonials to the dedication and commitment of faculty, students and staff, the Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to commend the AUC community for its response to the COVID-19 crisis.  

“The board deeply appreciates the University community’s collective response and resilience in the face of this global pandemic,” said Chair Richard Bartlett. “Although our challenges going forward are broadly similar to other universities, our responses will need to be collaborative, creative and focused on AUC’s specific needs to ensure that we emerge as a more nimble and innovative institution in service of our core mission.” 

As is customary during the May meeting, the board reviewed and approved the president and provost’s recommendations for the granting of tenure. The newly tenured professors include Angie Abdel Zaher, assistant professor of accounting; Dina Bassiouni, assistant professor of marketing; Ronnie Close, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication; Mayyada El-Sayed, associate professor of chemistry; Ian Morrison, assistant professor of sociology; Haytham Nawar, assistant professor of the arts; Khaled Tarabieh, assistant professor of architecture; and Alessandro Topa, assistant professor of philosophy. “Congratulations to the outstanding members of our faculty who received tenure,” said President Ricciardone. “They represent fine examples of the top caliber of teaching and research at AUC.”

The board also received an update from Beyer Blinder Belle, the architectural firm that began working on a master plan for the future of the New Cairo campus in February 2020. BBB gave an overview of the preliminary findings from dozens of interviews, an online survey and focus groups it has held since the project began. The master planning exercise has so far progressed on schedule with modifications to more virtual meetings in light of the pandemic. 

“In yet another way that the pandemic has allowed us to adapt, we held the first board meeting via videoconference,” said President Ricciardone. “Despite our inability to gather in person, the meeting was successful in bringing together so many of our trustees from around the world. They continue to be as deeply engaged and supportive of the University as ever.”