You plan to start operating from the next academic year. How are the preparations going?
Work is underway at the British building in Cospicua, which will be our first academic building, and the goal is to have it finalised for the arrival of our first cohort of students this August. We have four fully accredited degree programs that we will offer this upcoming fall. There will be three undergraduate programs- business administration, accounting and game development and a Masters in Business Administration. Our library will be open and functioning—not just the physical space, but a fully-fledged library for which we are investing heavily in databases and a variety of e-resources.
"We will start with an MBA and three undergraduate programmes: business administration, accounting and game development"
What will differentiate the type of education provided at AUM?
Our curriculum is based on the American liberal-arts model—and obviously that alone makes us distinctive in the region. Students that will attend our university are attracted to our institution primarily for that very reason—they want an American-style education but do not have the opportunity, means or desire to travel to the States to achieve it. That’s what the founders of this University envisioned as the goal of AUM. They see this project as a legacy and they are passionate about its success and longevity.
What kind of cost benchmark are you setting for the courses being offered?
We, of course, prefer to think in terms of educational benchmarks--however, it’s a fair question. Our tuition rates are quite competitive and accessible, and we’ve focused on degree programs that show potential growth in the job markets. Our students can be assured that not only will they graduate with a degree that is respected, but they will have a degree that is sought after by employers. So, to put it simply, our cost benchmark is based on value.
"To put it simply, our cost benchmark is based on value"
This is one of Sadeen Group’s first ventures in international educational services and the management of universities; however, a lot has been done from your end to establish AUM’s high academic standard. Are you confident that you will be able to achieve the required quality standards?
Absolutely. We have teamed up with partners in the U.S. who have and will continue to help us lay the groundwork to achieve the goals we have set for our university. However, I want to be clear, we are not a branch of any other university. We are independent and are driven to achieve success at the highest level for many reasons, not the least of which is to be a vital part of Malta’s academic and social communities.
DePaul University helped us lay the foundation by developing the curricula for our initial courses that are now accredited by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education.
This also means that our courses are certified Europe-wide as part of the Bologna process and the European Credit Transfer Accumulation System (ECTS). We have also acquired the services of Clemson University in South Carolina, who will act as a guide for us as we continue to grow in our academic endeavours in the future. We also have a Board of Trustees that will ensure all decisions align with the mission and vision of the American University of Malta.
What will be your relationship with the University of Malta?
I recently had a very pleasant meeting with the Rector of the University of Malta, Professor Alfred Vella and I anticipate a positive, collaborative relationship. We are not here to compete with the University of Malta. We are two very different institutions with, I believe, two very different audiences. There may be overlap in some areas, but I don’t anticipate anything other than a cooperative relationship between our two institutions.