AUA Holds Faculty Retreat 2022

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On August 23, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Faculty Senate and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), under the auspices of President Dr. Karin Markides and Provost Dr. Brian Ellison, held the annual faculty retreat in Garni. The event brought together around 100 AUA faculty, including newly hired professors and lecturers, who had a chance to interact with one another and reflect on the mission, priorities, and the role of the University and its faculty before starting the Fall 2022 semester.

Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Rafik Santrosyan gave the welcoming remarks, “After a two-year break, we are here today to reaffirm our commitment as educators, researchers, and citizens of the world. Tomorrow we will start a new semester. We will start the new semester in the face of global pandemics, wars, climate change, inequalities and geopolitical uncertainties. Now more than ever we are hopeful that the faculty retreat today will be a time for us to reflect on the truth and mission of faculty’s efforts in contributing to a safer and braver world through education and research—a world founded on logic, universality and innovation.” In his speech, Dr. Santrosyan also highlighted the importance of transformative education and the teaching approach that would support AUA students to “act and not just react, produce and not just consume, question and not just conform.” 

President Markides spoke next, emphasizing the role of the faculty in the University’s long-term commitments in education, research, and outreach. Her speech was followed by a presentation on the accreditation process delivered by Provost Ellison.

The retreat agenda included breakout sessions on faculty empowerment led by OIRA Director Dr. Brent Anders; research and collaboration by Dr. Brian Ellison; mindfulness-based interventions by Dr. Rubina Danilova; diversity activity facilitated by Laura Prokic; and a communication-enhancing activity facilitated by Dr. Sergey Tantushyan. The retreat culminated with a tour to the fort of Garni guided by Dr. Santrosyan. 

“The faculty retreat was a wonderful way to start the academic year! The sessions were enlightening and motivating, interactions with old and new friends and colleagues were fulfilling, and the setting was breathtaking,” remarked lecturer Suzanne Daghlian. 

In turn, Associate Professor Dr. Amy Christmas, who recently joined AUA, noted, “The faculty retreat was a highly valuable opportunity to orient myself in the AUA community, and a very timely event, coming as it did the day before classes began. Not only did the sessions communicate the University’s mission and vision clearly and in the most welcoming of ways—not to mention against the backdrop of such inspiring surroundings—the expectations concerning teaching, research and service were well-presented, creating a solid footing for new faculty embarking on their appointments at AUA. The hosts and session coordinators were warm, personable, and wholly sympathetic to the needs of new arrivals to Yerevan, and the team-building sessions in particular allowed ample opportunity for cross-dialogues with new and existing faculty alike. I could not have asked for a warmer welcome into a new country, academic community, and chapter of my career. Many thanks!”

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.