Provost Sherif Sedky: Education for Citizenship is Our Key Focus
With strategic enrollment, recruitment and retention of students as his main goals, Provost Sherif Sedky is keen on addressing issues pertaining to advising, course registration and major declaration; providing a rich mentoring program to enrich the learning experience; updating curricula with the latest developments in various fields; and emphasizing liberal arts education and experiential learning as the main pillars of an AUC education.
“In the end, our aim is to build student character and critical thinking skills,” he said. “That’s what an AUC education is all about.”
To achieve that as well as the objectives outlined in AUC’s 2014 – 2019 strategic plan, Sedky believes it is important to work simultaneously on various fronts: students, faculty, education, research and community engagement. “Students graduate and go out to the community, so we need to get the buy-in and engagement of the community in our educational process,” he explained. “We need to tailor courses to fit the needs of society, whether employers or other community stakeholders. This is what we call education for citizenship, which will be our focus in the next few years. Such education is essential to sustain and enhance AUC as Egypt’s global University.”
Strengthening community engagement would also help the University face one of its main research challenges –– funding. “By conducting research that tackles strategic issues in the country or region, such as fighting diseases, reducing energy consumption, shaping public policy or enhancing the humanities, we serve the community and address its needs, which, in turn, would help us acquire direct support from society to enhance education and research, and produce prototypes that can be developed into useful products,” said Sedky. “Education and research should always go hand in hand.”
The driving force behind this research is the faculty, so the recruitment and retention of high-caliber faculty members from diverse backgrounds is key. “We need to develop effective capacity-building and professional development programs for faculty members to adopt innovative pedagogies, engage in multidisciplinary teaching and research, integrate community-based learning into their courses and deliver proper liberal arts education –– the flagship of an AUC experience,” Sedky noted. “When faculty members are engaged as catalysts of change, this has a profound ripple effect on the institution and its students.”
With students, whom Sedky describes as “agents of change,” the plan is to increase scholarships, introduce structural changes that would improve the advising and course registration processes, enhance their English and Arabic competence, conserve their cultural heritage through the capitalization on programs such as Cairo in the Curriculum and develop strong links with industry to create new job opportunities. “AUC graduates have always been special, serving Egypt, the region and world through different leadership roles, and this should remain one of the University’s main strengths,” he said.
Affirmed Sedky, “We have a unique institutional identity and all the resources and assets to achieve national and international excellence, to transform students into inspiring agents of change and to truly be Egypt’s global University.”