Discontent at the AUIS


KT News and Comment:

Students complaining and bypassing instructors in the Kurdistan region are thought to be common problems in our academic institutions. Recently, however, the nature of this complaining has reached a new level at the American University of Iraq-Slemani (AUIS), where some students are very unhappy with the way their university is run and feel disillusioned that the AUIS reality might not match up to the marketing. Complaints include:

  • Students being left unattended at labs or with a lab assistant who has insufficient knowledge of the subject.
  • Students say numerous mistakes have been made in the marking of their exam papers and no-one listens to them when they try to avoid being penalised for staff errors.
  • Time-keeping is another issue, with some lecturers allegedly often arriving late and not staying behind to answers questions.
  • Students say they are struggling to understand some lecturers due to their accents or their speaking too fast without making an effort to explain things further.
  • Students say there is a lack of real support for those facing difficulties at the university or outside it.

But it isn’t just the students – academics say they have also encountered worrying issues. There is an accusation of unethical behaviour by one of the highly-paid department chairs and well as complaints about a general lack of management ‘know how’ or understanding of the local culture and education system, and an absence of appropriate disciplinary procedures.

One AUIS academic told KT: “I have evidence that two of my students have been instructed by the department chair to spy on me! While according the AUIS policy, the job of the department chair is to observe my teaching by attending my lectures in person and assess my strengths and weaknesses in a formal manner”.

The Kurdistan Tribune (KT) understands that department chairs have removed members of committees without prior consultation or warning. KT has also obtained details of the professional backgrounds of AUIS directors, indicating that several key posts are held by relatively inexperienced American migrants, who are in their mid-twenties and not from the USA’s most prestigious colleges and universities.

Despite recently receiving a gift of $20 million, the elite AUIS faces growing internal criticism and ‘being new’ is not a convincing explanation.

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

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