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Campus Conversation

Campus Conversation: An Overview of the President’s Agenda and COVID-19 Updates

Devon Murray
November 21, 2021

During last week’s Campus Conversation, President Ahmad Dallal explained parts of his vision and agenda for the University. Administration members also provided updates and answered questions on AUC’s COVID-19 situation and response.

Here's what you need to know:

  • President Dallal began the conversation by extending condolences to the families, colleagues and students of AUC community members who recently passed away: Sami Akabawi, Mahmoud El Lozy, Humphrey Davies and Gazbia Sirry.
  • After meeting with students, board members, alumni and other stakeholders, Dallal has identified the following goals:
    • Enhancing interdisciplinary academic programs
    • Helping the campus evolve into a “lively city of learning that brings everyone together”
    • Nurturing a culture of care
    • Tackling operational deficiencies 
  • He also highlighted AUC’s unique responsibility as a regional leader, being one of the few liberal arts institutions in the MENA region.
  • Communicating our work and achievements internally and externally is also a priority, Dallal said.
  • Finally, Dallal emphasized that he comes to AUC with experience, but not an agenda, which is something that will be collectively developed.

COVID-19 Updates

  • Provost Ehab Abdel Rahman reiterated the importance of staying on campus, safely.
  • At this moment, winter and spring courses will follow the same format as fall.
  • Vaccinated alumni are now allowed back on campus and may use the gym, pool and squash courts, as long as they provide proof of vaccination.
  • In the next Campus Conversation on December 9, the Scientific Advisory Committee will offer a deep dive into AUC’s Coronavirus Community Dashboard.
  • Shereen Shaker '91, vice president of management and operations, announced that in response to complaints over the clinic response time and lack of employees, the following has been done:
    • Automation has been implemented in the reporting process, which has allowed for shorter response times in alerting students and faculty members of potential contact.
    • Delays in reporting are generally due to a suspected or confirmed case reporting symptoms and/or illness late.
    • Since the beginning of November, there have only been two late notifications to students and faculty.
    • The clinic has four full-time and four part-time doctors, and they are in the process of hiring additional support staff.
  • AUC Counselor Ashraf Hatem reported that Egypt’s fourth wave has plateaued and that cases might begin decreasing within the next few weeks.
  • In the last few weeks, enforcement of the mask policy has increased on AUC buses, including the addition of posters on each bus and an email dedicated to reporting those who fail to comply with the mandate.
  • Outdoor seating around campus has been expanded, specifically in the area behind the library.
  • Faculty members may now wear a face shield rather than a mask while teaching classes. Students must remain masked.
  • Deena Boraie '78, '82, '88, vice president of student life, announced that out of the 686 students living in the student dorms, only three have tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the semester.
  • If a unit in student housing has a suspected case, the entire unit is tested (PCR or antigen, depending on the type of exposure).
  • The Board of Trustees has elected to spend 1.7 million dollars to equip all classrooms with the necessary technology for dual delivery of lessons.
  • By the end of January 2022, 29 classrooms will be equipped. All of AUC’s 140 classrooms will be equipped by the end of Summer 2022.
  • President Dallal ended the conversation stating that AUC, along with all other higher education institutions, must find ways to move forward despite the pandemic. He reiterated that his door is open to all for questions and concerns.