x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

AUE salutes its first graduates

Six years after it opened, offering a single diploma in business, AUE welcomes its first batch of graduates.

DUBAI // When the American University in the Emirates (AUE) opened in 2007, its 80 students could only enrol in a diploma course in business.

Today, its 2,500 students - 80 per cent of whom are Emirati - attend classes on subjects ranging from law to fashion design at bachelor's and master's degree level.

As its first batch of 269 degree students, including 228 Emiratis, graduated at the weekend, the university president, Professor Muthanna Razzaq, said it was the first step in the institution's growth.

"It's a dream come true but the ladder is very long and this is only the first step," he said.

The university will launch its first PhD course in September - in strategic and security studies - as it goes through the final phases of accreditation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

It also plans to build a campus in Dubai International Academic City.

The AUE sought government accreditation from its launch to ensure Emirati graduates would not be excluded from the public sector.

Prof Razzaq said this helped its growth in a competitive market. In Dubai there are 51 private institutions and two federal universities.

"The Commission for Academic Accreditation is tough and ensures the quality of education," he said. "When the visiting committee comes I tell them to be hard so they improve our programmes, as this will help attract students."

Prof Razzaq said finding qualified, experienced and committed academics had been a challenge.

The AUE's flexible schedules have helped to attract a large number of mature students, such as Emirati Hasan Al Shemeihi, 31.

Mr Al Shemeihi works full-time for Emirates Airline as a flight operations engineer and travelled to classes from Ras Al Khaimah. He graduated on Saturday with a master's in business administration.

"It's been a long journey and a big challenge but I'm excited to have finished," he said. "Being part of the first graduation ceremony, we feel even more proud to be part of the university's success."

mswan@thenational.ae