Donald Fuller, Vahe Odabashian, Rafik Santrosyan
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AUA Announces the Winners of the 2020 Faculty Awards

3 min read

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is proud to recognize the career achievements and tremendous dedication of its faculty members in promoting education and research. As an institution of higher learning, AUA is committed to acknowledge and reward faculty for teaching and research endeavors of outstanding and exceptional quality. 

Starting in 2014, AUA established the annual Faculty Research Award to promote research that garners interest in the University’s programs and expands its reach to the broader communities and Armenia. In 2020, the Faculty Research Award was redesigned into the Faculty Research TCP Award, thereby granting teaching credits to the recipients of the award.

In 2020, the winner of the Faculty Research TCP Award is Dr. Donald Fuller, senior professor in AUA’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program. Dr. Fuller’s project aims to establish an agricultural partnership between AUA and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, in order to stimulate the economic development of Armavir Province in Armenia. 

Donald Fuller

Donald Fuller

Essentially, serious change has not occurred since Soviet abandonment of farming in Armenia 30 years ago. It is our belief that combining academic, technological, and social scientific analysis can bring increased output in farming, while accentuating the use of healthy agricultural inputs and reduction of carbon ingredients. I believe the project can create a positive outcome benefiting farmers, agriculturists, and the population,” remarks Dr. Fuller. 

Along with promoting research, AUA highly values and recognizes the teaching efforts of its faculty. Their dedication to providing knowledge through the use of novel and advanced teaching methods ensures a better learning experience for AUA students, while contributing to academic enhancement overall. 

The winners of the 2020 Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards are Dr. Vahe Odabashian, adjunct lecturer in the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE), and Dr. Rafik Santrosyan, adjunct lecturer in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS). 

Vahe Odabashian

Vahe Odabashian

“Receiving this award was a great honor. It inspires greater responsibility to evolve as a professional and continuously improve my teaching. Generally, I think my students are doing great, but maybe I should have given them not only knowledge, skills, and a way of thinking, but also more strength to struggle, more resilience when facing hardships, more defiance against the odds. That’s what the award means to me now; that’s what motivates me to teach. I will concentrate on doing my best to continue deserving the award in the future,” comments Dr. Odabashian.

Rafik Santrosyan

Rafik Santrosyan

“I teach because I believe that a society founded in logic, universality, and innovation is a safer place for everyone. I teach because I am convinced we could live in a better world if it comprised individuals who were schooled to be and not to become, who were guided and not taught, who were let and not led into their unique talents, who were noticed and not just seen, who were heard and not merely listened to, who produced and did not just consume, who questioned and did not just conform, who acted and did not just react. I feel empowered and grateful that my fellow educators’ and my commitment to celebrate and hone diversity of talents has been acknowledged with this award, especially today as we struggle for our existence on so many fronts,” reflects Dr. Santrosyan.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values. 

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