Learn how AUBH diversifies its academic porfolio


Gulf Insiders talks to Dr. Susan E. Saxton, Founding President of the American University of Bahrain.

What’s new at AUBH?

We are so excited to welcome 2021 with new degrees, new students and new partnerships! It is an exciting time at AUBH. Not only were we able to welcome students back on our beautiful campus last fall, thanks to our dual-modality learning experience and outdoor activities and events, but we also have three new undergraduate programs and three new graduate programs in the pipeline and under approval with HEC. Today, we are of course offering our learning experience online, in line with the Council for Higher Education’s directives until March 14th, however, hope to welcome our students back on campus as soon as it’s possible to do so.

Adding to our list of recent accomplishments is that we are now welcoming international students from fourteen different countries, adding to our already diverse student body. AUBH is receiving a growing number of transfer students who wish to continue an American-style education in the GCC. These are students who started their education abroad, but now with our innovative academic approach, they are choosing to study closer to home.

Last year we announced our pursuit of a partnership with California State University Northridge (CSUN), one of the campuses in the 23-campus network of the internationally renowned California university system, and we are now cementing this partnership, subject to HEC approval. With CSUN as an academic partner, AUBH will be able to offer students access to the largest public University network in the United States. AUBH students will have a pathway to earn a degree directly from CSUN at the undergraduate and graduate level. Students with a desire for international experience will have the opportunity to study abroad at the CSUN campus in Los Angeles, home of Hollywood, a short step away from the famous Silicon Valley, the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Art Museum and many other culturally and academically enriching experiences.

You’ve recently told us about your partnership with Atnafas. How can the students benefit from this?

We are constantly creating added value for our students and exploring ways they can engage with the business community, and our partnership with Atnafas is part of that commitment. Atnafas Creative Production is one of the leading social media marketing and production houses in Bahrain. Founded by Bahraini social media influencer Mr. Omar Farooq, Atnafas will support AUBH students by providing tools, resources and knowledge on creative direction, campaigns, films and social media while offering information sessions to students.

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Together, AUBH and Atnafas Creative Production will be hosting multimedia projects and events, workshops and a speaker series on campus. This fits perfectly with our upcoming range of digitally-focused degree programs, and we will be adding to our partnership portfolio to enhance the student experience.

Can you tell us more about how AUBH is diversifying its academic portfolio?

AUBH is broadening the educational scope of our academic programs in two directions, vertically and horizontally. We are hoping to offer the following degrees at the graduate level very soon: a Master of Science in Engineering Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Arts in Multimedia Management, subject to HEC approval. For our students who want to continue study after their undergraduate experience, or those who are working, already have a Bachelor’s degree, and are looking to sharpen their industry skills, there are new program options for their continued education.

Horizontally, we are widening the scope of our existing Colleges by offering three new bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Bachelor of Business Administration in Digital Marketing and Social Media, and Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management.  As AUBH continues to make its mark on the GCC and beyond, these programs will continue to expand and grow.

Are there specific changes that you would like to see at AUBH?

I am very proud of AUBH and all that we have accomplished and my main goal as President is to keep building our brand, growing the AUBH culture and expanding the program options with quality and integrity. This means more degree programs, international students, Bahraini students, corporate partnerships and scholarships. We continually assess market and economic demand. AUBH can become the hub of academic excellence in the GCC and beyond, resting on a solid foundation of core degree programs that prepare our students for a lifetime of success.

How is AUBH ensuring that its future graduates will be ready for the job market?

Every degree program at undergraduate and graduate level that AUBH offers carefully considers how to academically challenge a student while simultaneously preparing them for a rewarding career. It is a core part of our mission to prepare students for an evolving and competitive job market. This is why AUBH curricula is built to equip students with the knowledge and soft skills to succeed in a rapidly ever-changing environment. Students enrolling in AUBH are exposed to a university life that is very much influenced by collaborative learning, critical thinking, and technical education in an American-style University environment.

Beyond the academic education that the students receive, they assimilate mentorship in soft skills and competencies including problem solving, negotiation and creative thinking with the purpose of empowering the next generation with the confidence, leadership and professionalism skills required in the workforce. They will also be able to experience social, athletic and other extra-curricular activities making AUBH home. It is soft skills like these that will set our students apart from other graduates.

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Our American style of education’s flexibility also supports students in finding the career path that is right for them. During their first two years of University, they can change their mind about the degree program they are enrolled in, while transferring over a maximum number of credits. They also engage in speaker series, professionals engaging in-class with them, internships, and joint projects with companies which provide them with a more holistic view of how the industry is built, works, and where they see themselves evolving within that context. Being supported by the Mumtalakat portfolio through the Elm Fund, has also given us the access to Bahrain’s most coveted places of employment and we are currently working with these companies on corporate partnerships to solidify our community’s experience at AUBH.

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