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Dahawy Outlines Vision for Student Affairs

Walking through Khaled Dahawy’s door, one is quickly greeted with an inviting smile and a firm, reassuring handclasp. For Dahawy, his recent appointment as vice president for student affairs was made all the more appealing by the fact that he never applied for it.

“I was surprised to find my name on the nominations list,” he said. “But this only solidified my connection with the job. The community is putting its trust in me, and I want to make sure that they don’t feel let down.”

His candidature may have come as news, but Dahawy’s bond with AUC students is long-standing. For 13 years, he served in various student-led capacities, with roles culminating in his selection as vice president for student affairs. Dahawy's post oversees AUC’s enrollment, admissions; international student affairs; financial aid and scholarships; the Career Center; Office of Student Development as well as the Office of Student Support.

These core duties, believes Dahawy, must be complemented with measures to advocate and augment a very distinctive feature of AUC –– the sense of community. “The move to the new campus brought about feelings of alienation for some people,” he said. “I want to restore this lost sense of intimacy, which was a hallmark of AUC Tahrir Square. Students associate themselves with AUC in ways that extend beyond academics, and it is important that they keep on doing so.”

Shaping the AUC identity, he added, also involves emphasizing extracurricular activities as drivers of character because they contribute to producing well-rounded graduates. His vision will materialize with the implementation of a point-transcript system, which goes in parallel with the widely accepted credit-hour structure. “We want to embed extracurricular activities and bolster them as integral components of education,” said Dahawy. “By encouraging out-of-class committees, providing internships and on-the-job training, as well as promoting student club events, we are acknowledging that education should not be limited to the classroom.”

A stalwart believer in the servant-leadership approach, Dahawy plans to involve students in many aspects of the decision-making process, readily putting theory into practice by convening with Student Union representatives. “My years of experience at AUC taught me that the best solutions come from students,” he said. “When you enable students and give them leadership roles, they excel, and once you come to this realization, you will want to make sure that students are incorporated into everything you do.”

Dahawy plans to expand on his open-door policy by creating an online platform that is accessible to all students, anytime. “Students should always be able to come to us with their concerns and questions,” he said. “In today’s age and time, connectivity is key. As an administrator, I want to ensure that I’m close to the students at all times.”

Dahawy is walking the walk, as he plans to volunteer-teach at AUC one year after he assumes the vice president post. “Teaching is at the heart of my relationship with the University,” he said. “Being in the classroom and interacting with my students in an academic context is very important to me.”

One of Dahawy’s main goals for the upcoming academic year is to establish a unified University policy on student conduct and disciplinary processes. The policy, he said, helps students understand and comply with University regulations, some of which they may not be familiar with. “The policy seeks to draw the line between freedom of expression and misconduct,” he explained. “Many students are not aware of what constitutes violations. The policy clarifies these ambiguities and informs students of their rights as well as their obligations.”

An AUC alum and proud father of two AUC students, Dahawy believes he is fortunate to have a good understanding of what students and parents experience. “Being a father of AUC students provides me with a wealth of information about daily life on campus,” he said. “I’m lucky to be familiar with everyone’s AUC experience.”

Dahawy earned a bachelor’s in business administration from AUC, an MBA from The Pennsylvania State University and a PhD from the University of North Texas. With more than a decade of experience in academic and professional roles at AUC, Dahawy has served as professor, director of the MBA programs and chair of the accounting department. He published online reports for the United Nations, World Bank and the International Financial Corporation.