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AUK Receives Best Practice Award

The American University of Kuwait has been awarded the NASPA International Education Knowledge Community 2011 Best Practice Award for International Exchange Programs. The Best Practices committee received a record number of noteworthy nominations from institutions around the world including neighboring Qatar. AUK's Student Affairs Graduate Student Summer Internship Program was selected as this year's winner. Dr. Carol Ross-Scott, Vice President of Administrative & Student Affairs, received for AUK and on behalf of Tadd Kruse the program co-founder and other key colleagues who support the program, during a luncheon on Sunday March 13th at the International Symposium during the NASPA Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA-USA.

The selective eight-week internship program began in Summer 2009 and was designed to provide current graduate students or recent graduates from master's programs in higher education administration, student personnel or related field, the opportunity to gain essential experiences within professional areas of Student Affairs. The goal is to instill a deeper understanding of higher education, allowing for the acquisition of specific skill sets that will help prepare interns for their career in higher education. Katie Mitchell, a 2010 Intern from the University of Northern Colorado briefly summarized her experience by stating "The cultural experience alone was worth the trip, as was the opportunity to work with a great staff and students." Interns select assignments from Admissions, Registration, Student Life, Parent Relations and Alumni Affairs, Academic Advising Center, or the Dean of Student Affairs Office. The internship program has also provided invaluable learning experiences for the AUK staff. Eman Kamel of the Admissions department said she "learned a lot about how things are done at other institutions, in particular bigger institutions; how we (AUK) can change."

The lack of knowledge about students of Arab decent in higher education has never been more apparent. The AUK program by design intentionally strives to help prepare new professionals for work within a culturally diverse campus, learning firsthand about the student cohort as well as helping them to understand and defuse stereotypes and misnomers about the Middle East and the Arab world. Interns also have the opportunity to travel within the region and visit other postsecondary institutions. Former intern, Kevin D'Arco, landed a position in Qatar upon graduation.

As part of NASPA's continuing efforts of educating individuals for the profession, the organization also provides a mentoring and development program for undergraduates. For the first time, an AUK student-Omar Mehdi, was selected to participate in the Undergraduate Fellows program. The Fellows' program includes yearlong mentoring and career exploration in partnership with an AUK Student Affairs professional, attendance at the annual NASPA conference including participating in programs designed specifically for all undergraduate fellows, and participating in a summer internship program at another college or university. AUK has always been committed to identifying undergraduate students who have the potential to one day serve as fulltime staff members. Currently twenty-two alumni are now employed by AUK. Both accolades signify AUK is on the right track as we endeavor to develop an environment that supports the personal and academic growth of our students.

Dr. Carol Ross-Scott

Released by the PR & Marketing Department on the 4th May 2011

Photography by the AUK Public Relations & Marketing Department (C) 2011

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