AUA Extension in Yeghegnadzor
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Profiling AUA Extension in the Regions: Yeghegnadzor

3 min read

YEGHEGNADZOR, Armenia — American University of Armenia (AUA) Extension, the non-degree arm of the University, runs English language and professional development programs in various regional cities, including Dilijan, Goris, Gyumri, Kapan, Vanadzor, and Yeghegnadzor. The types and levels of courses offered at these locations vary and are designed to address the specific needs of each community. Based on the needs assessment of each community, AUA Extension courses are refreshed from time to time and tailored to better meet the expressed needs of local public and private sector organizations, as well as the public at large. 

We asked Hayarpi Aghakhanyan, program coordinator of AUA Extension in Yeghegnadzor, to expand on the history of the Office, its ongoing activities, and more. 

AUA Extension began operating in Yeghegnadzor in October 2015 in order to give the Vayots Dzor regional community, as well as representatives of local public and private sector organizations, the opportunity to partake in a range of high-quality, flexible, and innovative courses, trainings, and seminars planned, designed, and developed by AUA Extension. 

AUA Extension continues to be active in Yeghegnadzor to activate the region by organizing professional development and language courses, enabling young professionals to gain new skills and knowledge and remain competitive in the job market, as well as preparing students for admission to AUA.

AUA Extension initially launched its training program in Yeghegnadzor with courses in General English. In subsequent years, the program has grown both in terms of the number of students and scope of activities. Over the past nine years, enrollment has reached around 2,000 with expanded opportunities for students to attend language, professional development, and test preparation courses.

The current portfolio of courses offered by AUA Extension includes a set of specific courses developed in response to local demand, including business management and tourism, as well as hospitality management. The topics and teaching approach of the program were identified following a needs assessment, which solicited direct input from the local community. The program is aligned with AUA Extension’s methodology of developing program content based on local residents’ needs and designing courses that are meaningful and relevant to the region.

AUA Extension actively cooperates with Syunik-Development NGO, the largest NGO in the Vayots Dzor region. Based on the data gathered from the needs assessment and in order to address the primary needs identified by the community, a range of courses, seminars, and meetings were adopted within the framework of this partnership, including Social Media Marketing, Media Literacy, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Food and Beverage Management. The most recent collaboration was within the scope of the NGO’s initiative to form a translators’ group comprising local specialists to establish the “Mashtots” publishing house in the Vayots Dzor region. Thus, AUA Extension designed a new course on Creativity in Translation: Going Higher. This course advances skills for the faithful alignment of source and target texts on three levels: syntax, lexis, and style, by providing a creative, practical approach to addressing the issues faced by practicing translators and students of translation. An impressive problem-solving toolbox, emphasizing creativity and minimal theoretical foundation, was developed to help propel students into the advanced level of translatorial competence. A group of 12 translators participated in two levels of the course during 2021-22. Within the scope of this cooperation, a reading club was organized for the translators of “Mashtots” publishing house on July 3, 2022. 

Additionally, speaking clubs with native speakers are continually organized at AUA Extension’s Yeghegnadzor office to build students’ vocabulary, improve their speaking skills, help them gain confidence in the use of English, and cultivate new friendships among the participants. Also, Open Houses on AUA admission are regularly organized to present undergraduate and graduate programs, admission procedures, as well as financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Also, AUA Extension in Yeghegnadzor regularly organizes meetings with local organizations, educational institutions, and small businesses to inform about its courses and activities, and also to update existing information on the community’s needs.

The activities of AUA Extension in Yeghegnadzor also include occasional seminars on various topics, such as leadership and management, Earth Day celebrations, summer schools, and career orientation sessions.

Following the devastating events of 2023 and in close cooperation with local authorities and NGOs, AUA Extension in Yeghegnadzor took practical steps to enroll forcibly displaced compatriots in its courses for kids as well as adults. The program was also expanded with the addition of two bookkeeping courses to boost the competitiveness of Artsakhtsis in the local job market and to facilitate their adaptation to their new environment.

AUA Extension is the non-degree educational program of the American University of Armenia (AUA), with programs especially geared to meeting the educational needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds and occupations, as well as governments and corporate organizations. AUA Extension offers a comprehensive range of courses and certificate programs, including language classes, test preparation courses, and a wide range of professional development training. Through its regional centers around Armenia, AUA Extension expands opportunities for locals to thrive and contribute to the development of their communities. Additionally, AUA Extension provides testing services on behalf of various standardized tests for college admission and exams for international professional certification.