Al Akhawayn University: Broadening the Educational Horizons in Morocco

Al Akhawayn University

Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane is an independent, public, not-for-profit, coeducational Moroccan university committed to educating future citizen-leaders of Morocco and the world through a globally oriented, English language, liberal arts curriculum based on the American system. The University enhances Morocco and engages the world through leading-edge educational and research programs, including continuing and executive education, upholds the highest academic and ethical standards, and promotes equity and social responsibility.

Core Values And Principles

Al Akhawayn University has developed into an institution that embraces a variety of influences related to Al Maghreb: the historical and cultural pursuits of the Kingdom of Morocco, its Arab-African status in a privileged geo-strategic position, its ties and devotion to Arab-Islamic civilization, and its openness to Europe, America, and Asia. The University’s educational mission is one in which it is committed to playing a decisive role in science, technology, and the arts, as well as assisting with the emancipation and prosperity of modern nations.

It promotes these while maintaining a goal of preserving the assets and consolidating the country’s calling as a land of encounter, liberty, and tolerance – a global objective in which the Kingdom takes deep pride. In 1995, the country’s monarch, King Hassan II, seeking to enrich the educational system through the establishment of a new university, challenged the founders to create an organizational, pedagogical, and scientific structure inspired by the most effective models.

AUI, modeled in its administrative, pedagogical, and academic organization on the American university system, is meant to be a forum for creativity and human progress in all fields of knowledge, as well as a venue for cooperation and understanding among peoples and civilizations.

Since its inception, the University has manifested its wish to contribute to the training of highly qualified professionals and executives, people committed to the quest for knowledge and culture and imbued with the values of human solidarity and tolerance. In addition to a global focus, the University desires that the education imparted grant special status to the Arabic language and the Arab-Islamic culture at all educational levels and majors.

While adopting the English language as the main medium of instruction, Al Akhawayn University also offers a range of courses in Arabic and French. Within the framework of the Dahir-bearing law, the University works to establish cooperative relations with universities and other national and international organizations concerned with education and research. It also strives to enter into cooperative relations with public and private entities from various sectors of the national economy.

Globally Oriented Curriculum

Al Akhawayn University is an independent, public, not-for-profit, coeducational Moroccan university committed to educating future citizen-leaders of Morocco and the world through a globally oriented, English language, liberal arts curriculum based on the American system.

The University enhances Morocco and engages the world through leading-edge educational and research programs, including continuing and executive education, upholds the highest academic and ethical standards, and promotes equity and social responsibility.

Broadening the Horizons

Being the best has its perks. The American Liberal Arts model exists to offer students both breadth and depth. It allows them to specialize after enrolling so that they may develop their passions while also pursuing other avenues of academia. To ensure that students receive a diverse education, the university introduced ‘core requirements’ into its curriculum. The university pushes students to broaden their horizons while letting them choose their own paths.

The university’s take on Liberal Arts approaches academia in a practical manner: it believes that all subjects are interrelated and that they inform one another. Its classrooms are home to diverse minds, which enables a single class to be populated by business students, engineers, and philosophers. In shaping students this way, the university hopes that students will learn both from their teachers and from one another, creating a united network of intellectualism.

Al Akhawayn University provides students with the environment to nurture and develop themselves through numerous student clubs on campus. Whether they are interested in politics, film, astronomy, sports, or leadership, AUI has student clubs where students can develop their passion and pick up life skills in leadership, organization, and civic participation along the way.

The university offers STEM-related conferences and lectures and annually conducts a national robotics competition.

A Global Platform

International students interested in studying at AUI have three main options, which are described below.

  • Pursuing a Degree: International students can get a bachelor’s or master’s degree from AUI.

Al Akhawayn is an appealing institution for international scholars to visit. It is accredited by Moroccan and American institutions, as well as necessary program accreditations.

To apply for and enroll in a full-time study program at Al Akhawayn University for the completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, certain international groups are frequently funded by scholarship programs.

Depending on the nature of the scholarship, these are announced in a variety of ways.

  • Non-Degree Seeking: Programs for Study Abroad (including exchange).

Students who are already enrolled in degree programs but want to study at AUI for one or two semesters should first check to see if their home institution has an existing exchange or study abroad agreement with AUI, then contact their study abroad advisor/coordinator to find out how to apply and whether a place is available for the upcoming semester.

AUI maintains bilateral and multilateral exchange agreements with other institutions throughout the world.

The outbound and inbound movement of students between AUI and numerous global universities gives new experiences for students to study and grow in other contexts and institutions, which is a crucial pillar of AUI’s internationalization approach.

  • Independent Visiting Students Seeking Non-Degree Opportunities:

Students from institutions that do not have an exchange or study abroad agreement with AUI but wish to study at AUI for a semester or summer should go to their International Office and check with the Study Abroad Coordinator/Advisor to see if AUI has an agreement or an approved study abroad provider.

If there is no formal arrangement or relationship between AUI and other institutions, a dialogue between the international offices about the study plan, followed by a letter of nomination from international officers, is usually enough to proceed.

Overall, the Office of International Programs (OIP) is excited to welcome any students who wish to complete further study. These alternatives only apply to credit-bearing programs, and AUI frequently includes non-credit-bearing programs that may be of interest.

Digital Transformation

The university has introduced an LMS (Learning Management System) named Canvas. Canvas is a system for students, and IT infrastructure upgrades are all part of the university’s digital transformation in conjunction with partners like IFC and Huawei Maroc.

NeoCedrus The computer programming unit, NeoCedrus, made up of students who provide computer solutions to specific business programs, has developed programs to manage campus access during Covid, a data management application that tracks first-year students as well as the tutoring reservation program that is marketed and sold to a Gulf university.

Deviteam, the newly launched student-led software development unit under the IT department of Al Akhawayn University. ITS Deviteam, the development department led by students, will introduce part-time positions to the ITS department to develop solutions for the benefit of students and consolidate projects from various departments by becoming the central hub for all custom IT projects. Deviteam is working on several projects and events which will improve students’ lives on campus in several aspects, with solutions ranging from AUI Campus to AUI Hunt and many more.

Employability and Entrepreneurship office

The university created the Office of Employability and Entrepreneurship as part of its efforts at student success and development and in keeping with the university’s mission and vision. The goal of the office is to help students discover their future dream jobs.

  • For the Class of 2022, 50 percent of all graduates to receive a job offer before graduating from AUI.
  • By 2025, 99 percent of all graduates seeking a job to receive at least three job offers before graduating from AUI.
  • For First Year and Sophomore students, the university will introduce Human-Centered Design Thinking courses to help students discover much earlier how to pursue their career passions systematically and with greater agency.
  • For its First Year and Sophomore students, the university are providing more Co-Op work opportunities across Morocco.
  • For Juniors and Seniors, it will be introducing personalized coaching and sponsored networking sessions with local and international employers and investors.
  • For all levels, the university will be working on skill-building and networking with future employers through experiential sessions.
  • It is also following up and soliciting systematic feedback from employers on students’ job applications made through MyCareer (AUI’s newest custom job application platform) to continuously refine the strategy to better prepare the students for the job market.
  • The university is also bringing local and foreign investors to mentor and invest in startup ideas generated by its student-led Incubators. Startup Olympus hosts and supports students’ startups while at the university, and two international incubators who give training and host the students with business ideas: Eura Technologies in Lille, France and Quickers Ventures, a digital incubator, in Madrid.
  • The Co-Op/Alternance Programs include eight multinational companies around Morocco that offer jobs for the first year of the student.

Programs Validated by Experts

The university’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) programs are reviewed and validated by leading international experts and institutions. The Communication Studies Program is assessed by Northern Arizona University and Human Development Program by George Washington University. The International Studies Program is reviewed by executives from International Studies Association:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development
  • Bachelor of Science in Spatial Planning and Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Sustainability

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Arts in International Studies and Diplomacy
  • Master of Arts in Islamic Religious Studies
  • Master of Arts in North African and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Master of Arts in Communication Studies and Digital Media
  • Master of Science in Human Resources and Development

The School of Business Administration Program (SBA) has been accredited by EPAS, the International Programme Accreditation System operated by EFMD. This achievement marks the SBA as the only EPAS Accredited BA Program in Africa.

  • Bachelor of Business Administration: Analytics and AI for Business.

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Analytics (MSDMA)
  • Master of Business Administration (full-time and part-time) Executive

The School of Science and Engineering (SSE) programs are accredited by the Computing and Engineering Accreditation Commission (CEA) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). There are only four universities in Africa with ABET-accredited programs.

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering & Management Science
  • Bachelor of Science in General Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy Systems Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing and Logistics Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Decision Support Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Cloud and Mobile Software Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Big Data Analytics
  • Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence and Robotization

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Science in Big Data Analytics (MSBDA)
  • Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE)
  • Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Management (MSSEM)

Building the Future as an Innovator

AUI was granted its initial accreditation by the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE) in 2017; this initial accreditation was for five years, ending in 2022. It is the first non-American university in Africa to be accredited by one of the American accreditation commissions.

AUI collectively decided in 2020 to proactively start building the future of AUI as an innovator. NECHE’s decision is to grant AUI accreditation for the maximum possible period of 10 years. The new strategy also included a Growth component to serve Morocco and serve the above vision – with respect to Employers, AUI’s alums, and its impact (including through research).

NECHE’s reaccreditation process culminates with a ‘defense’ meeting of the University President with NECHE’s Board, which took place in Boston at the end of September. NECHE’s decision is to grant AUI accreditation for the maximum possible period of 10 years, 2022-2032.

Noble Efforts to Enhance Literacy

In 2002, the university launched its Azrou Center for Community Development, which offers the neighboring city, Azrou, a variety of free programs that revolve around education and are aimed at aiding both children and adults of all ages who have either never had the chance to enroll in school or have dropped out at an early age.

The Azrou Center exists to serve the underprivileged community of the greater Azrou area and to raise awareness of women’s rights. The Center offers programs such as literacy improvement courses, non-formal and technical skill training, employability skills training for university graduates, medical campaigns, awareness programs, and many more. It is estimated that the Center benefits well over 3,000 local residents every year.

The Hillary Rodham Clinton Center for Women’s Empowerment (HCC) was established in 1999, only three years after the University opened its doors and on the eve of its first commencement. Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton officially arrived and delivered a speech to Al Akhawayn University’s second graduating class. The HCC advances scholarship and knowledge production about gender and women’s rights in North Africa, but it also contains grassroots outreach programs for rural women that are mostly designed to empower rural women’s associations to become economically self-reliant.

By designing a multitude of workshops, both in-person and online, the HCC has helped innumerable women manage and maintain their businesses. Their online workshops, for instance, are designed to reach a maximum number of clients, so the interface has been designed in a user-friendly manner that supports individuals who have limited to no reading or writing skills.

Community Involvement Program

AUI mandates all degree-seeking undergraduate students to complete 60 hours of community service prior to the date of their graduation. By working with the Community Involvement Program (CIP), they’ll be able to choose from a list of any NGO/Associations in Morocco and abroad and spend 60 hours working with an organization whose passions are shared, during which time they will gain employable skills that will help them after graduating.

During students’ time on campus, they might join these students’ associations rank by participating in one of the university’s many socially minded clubs, which include Hand in Hand, Rotaract, Lions Club,UNICEF,Al Qalb Lkbir,Jeunes Leaders Marocains. These clubs work to improve a variety of sectors, most notably in rural areas, from promoting literacy and alleviating poverty to raising medical awareness and schooling.

Some of the alums from the university dedicate their careers to developing communities. Maha Laziri, who graduated from AUI in 2011, is the President and Founder of Teach4Morocco and was ranked the 17th Most Powerful Arab Woman in the World by the Arabian Business magazine in 2015.

Significant Movements in the Evolution

Al Akhawayn University President Dr. Amine Bensaïd has been appointed, by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, as a member of the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research. A statement from the Royal Cabinet stated, “King Mohammed VI has kindly appointed the members of the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research, whom the law regulating this council gives His Majesty the right to appoint.”

AUI proudly announces over 20 awards and prizes from its corporate and association partners across Morocco, Europe, Asia, and the Americas to SBA ‘Capstone’ teams. The prizes and awards are designed to support students to continue into the marketplace under the theme ‘The Next Normal: What do Morocco and Africa Need in a Post-Pandemic World?’

These awards and prizes were announced to a crowd of 350 families and friends, and the awardees were selected after a thorough review of students’ reports, plus a day of formal presentations with lively question-and-answer sessions in front of students, parents, families, and peers. The judges came from Morocco, France, the UK, Portugal, Australia, Palestine, and the United States.

In a remarkable demonstration of academic excellence, Nassima AitBenichou, a student at Al Akhawayn University (AUI), has achieved the second-highest score globally in the ETS® Major Field Test (MFT) in Business. Nassima’s dedication and hard work throughout her academic journey at AUI culminated in this extraordinary accomplishment.

This accomplishment by Nassima exemplifies AUI’s dedication to fostering an environment that nurtures academic excellence, personal growth, and professional preparedness. It serves as a testament to AUI’s commitment to providing world-class education, equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the global marketplace. As well as a testament to the exceptional capabilities of Moroccan students on a global scale. It not only fills the University with pride for Morocco but also instills confidence in the potential of the Moroccan youth to achieve remarkable accomplishments worldwide.

Nassima’s exceptional achievement at Al Akhawayn University aligns with the university’s highest recognition from the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). NECHE, an accrediting institution renowned worldwide and trusted with accrediting institutions like Harvard University, has granted AUI a 10-year accreditation—the maximum duration attainable. This accreditation further solidifies the notion that AUI students can match the standards set by the best students worldwide in terms of the education and experiences they receive at the university.

Accepting the Challenges

AUI advises students to challenge themselves in order to gain new skills and knowledge.

“Challenge yourself, learn a new language, expand your cultural horizons, make lasting connections, discover amazing places, and form lifelong memories.”

The institute aims to be a beacon in MEA for the 21st Century liberal arts education with practical and sustained value. It aims to bring the Best Value on Investment.

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