Excerpts from an Interview by President LeGene Quesenberry on Channels Television on Saturday, May 6, 2017
1. Would you enumerate some of the achievements of your predecessor in office, Dr. Margee Ensign?
Dr. Ensign was an accomplished president of AUN and I welcome the opportunity to continue the work of the university and implement our Founder’s vision of creating Africa’s premier development university.
Dr. Ensign and others expanded AUN’s student and faculty exchange program through membership in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance and the Association of American International Colleges and Universities. We look forward to establishing more partnerships with top-ranked universities.
2. What makes American University of Nigeria different from other institutions in Nigeria?
AUN follows the Liberal Arts tradition of engaging students in critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and communication, creative problem-solving and ethical decision-making. This general education component informs discipline-based investigation and provides students with skills employers find essential. More importantly, it provides our students with the practical skills needed for entrepreneurship and engenders the spirit of enterprise and innovation.
Uniquely, we involve students in academic research through coursework and applied learning that focuses on community engagement and service learning.
Our curriculum drives interrogation of national challenges and inspires their resolution.
Our community of faculty, staff, and students are drawn from nearly forty countries of the world. This exposure to diversity and multiple viewpoints creates the platform for innovative, successful solutions.
3. Why should a typical Nigerian parent enroll his child in your school?
AUN offers the best credible alternative for students seeking excellent education in the comfort of their cultural environment.
Our facilities, technology infrastructure, and faculty are globally competitive. Our Library won a Best Digital Library Award from the American Library Association.
We have support systems such as the Writing Center that provide workshops so that students can improve their academic work. We have faculty advisors that counsel students regarding their academic plans and career opportunities. Our Honor Society students provide tutorials on academic subjects. And we have a robust campus life that ensures students personal and academic needs are met. It offers sports and entertainment activities and sponsors the Emerging Leaders program. Our students gain the confidence and the skills needed move Nigeria forward.
· AUN’s class sizes are small, which makes teaching, tutorials, and academic advising much more personal and meaningful. We encourage our students to challenge the theories of their disciplines and to imprint the Nigerian perspective on those theories.
· On a personal note, I taught a course this semester and watched in awe as a student who was presenting his research was challenged by another student: she got up from her seat and advanced toward the speaker---arguing NOT HER OPINION—but her perspective based on facts and data. It was one of my proudest moments as a professor. And that isn’t attributable to me----that is the AUN experience.
MOST IMPORTANTLY at the American University of Nigeria:
· Here students contribute to Nigeria's development.
· Here students identify and solve issues important to Nigeria.
· Here students learn to lead.
4. Would you name some of the unique courses at AUN many of which are not available in other Nigerian institutions?
In addition to the full remit of university courses in subjects like Petroleum Chemistry, Information Technology, Environmental Sciences, and Business Administration, we offer graduate programs in Business and IT.
We have an entrepreneurship program that allows students to compete for $5000 to fund a startup company that has support of accounting, marketing, HR and organization professors.
Our new law school offer courses not available in Nigeria: Gender and the Law, environmental Law but it also offers a Clinical experience so that students practice law under the supervision of licensed practitioners. Students can be involved in our Access to Justice Program to provide legal assistance to those who could not otherwise afford it. Students will manage the law review, a legal journal, and contribute to the development and interpretation of Nigerian Law and contribute to the development of its legal system.
But the most remarkable distinction of AUN is its Faculty. You will be able to take a class from the former Ambassador of Ireland; or a former civil rights activist and Freedom Rider; or the Poet Laureate of Columbia; or an Oxford Clarendon Scholar.
In my 20+ years in Academia, I have never seen a more dedicated cadre of scholars. They bring their global perspectives and experiences into the classroom and out to the community. The success of our students is their raison d’être.
5. AUN's ninth Commencement ceremony comes up in a few days from today. What are you celebrating at this annual ceremony?
As usual, we will celebrate the achievements of our graduating students, and recognize the accomplishments of our distinguished faculty.
And honor our distinguished Commencement Speaker, Mr. Ike Chioke of Afrinvest and a member of AUN’s Board of Trustees.
6. Do you have any additions to make concerning your plans for moving AUN forward during the course of your Interim Presidency, which I did not ask you?
We are expanding our infrastructure and have begun new capital projects to accommodate our growing student population.
We have established A Research Administration Directorate and a Center for Intellectual Property to push forward the agenda of the Nigeria Universities Commission and spur innovation.
We are collaborating with organizations and individuals to support scholarships to enable anyone with academic potential access to AUN's remarkable education. I urge anyone listening you is interested in supporting these young people to contact me or our AVP of Marketing and Recruitment and we will guide you on how you can help.