From left, Dr. Sharistan Melkonian, Dr. Bruce Boghosian and Ruben Topchyan at the press conference announcing the reaccreditation of the American University of Armenia

American University of Armenia Accreditation Renewed for Ten Years by WASC

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YEREVAN  — In a letter dated March 6, 2024, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) reaffirmed the accreditation of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for a term of ten years, the longest possible term. The decision is a reflection of the University’s ability to consistently uphold the highest international standards in higher education, joining the ranks of top-rated institutions like Stanford University, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Southern California, among others. AUA is currently the only university in the former Soviet Union boasting this accreditation.

WSCUC’s decision was made following the submission of AUA’s Self Study report, the process for which took almost two years, and a site visit and submission of a report by a panel of WSCUC experts, as well as a meeting with AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian, Chairman of the Board Larry Pitts, President Emeritus Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, and Dean of General Education Dr. Sharistan Melkonian, who also led the Accreditation Steering Committee, on February 15, 2024.

This ten-year re-accreditation represents a resounding validation of AUA’s commitment to continuous improvement: the fact that the University hires high-quality, internationally-educated faculty; conducts regular program reviews; and operates as a student-centered institution with high state-of-the-art campus facilities. AUA is grateful to USAID/ASHA for its continuous support of renovations and upgrades to the University’s facilities.

One of the top commendations the University received from WSCUC was its financial stability, largely facilitated by the longtime and generous backing of the Diaspora, which has supported the University both financially and academically since its inception. Along those lines, WSCUC positively remarked on the fact that AUA offers heavily subsidized tuition, with half of the student body receiving some sort of financial aid.

WSCUC also shared several recommendations, which the University is already working to address. These include formalizing and developing the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; adapting to enrollment growth by identifying necessary infrastructure; strengthening consistency and transparency in faculty workload, among others.

“The AUA Boards of Trustees are extremely happy and proud to learn of the University’s ten-year reaccreditation by the US accreditation organization, the Western Senior Colleges and Universities Commission,” said Chairman of the AUA Board of Trustees Dr. Larry Pitts. “Dean Dr. Sharistan Melkonian and her re-accreditation team did an outstanding job of preparing the applications and hosting the visiting WSCUC team, which awarded AUA their longest reaccreditation period, ranking AUA among some of the finest U.S. universities. Congratulations to everyone who helped AUA meet this remarkable milestone!”

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On March 13, AUA hosted a press conference to announce the reaffirmation of its accreditation.

“The process of reaffirmation would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of AUA’s students, staff, and faculty, all of whom actively participated in working groups and campus-wide discussions,” said Dr. Boghosian. “I am sincerely grateful to all of you who contributed to the success of this process, and especially to Dr. Melkonian for her leadership of the Accreditation Steering Committee. Thanks to our community’s active participation in University life and commitment to AUA’s mission, we have been able to achieve this significant milestone in our institution’s history, together.”

For her part, Dr. Melkonian remarked on the extensive accreditation process and the significance of this achievement. “Earning U.S. accreditation is a sign to potential students and their families that an AUA degree is worth their time and effort, a sign to potential and existing faculty that AUA is an institution that is worth sharing their expertise and time. And, it is a sign to the market that AUA graduates are ready to take on the challenges of a changing local, regional and global environment.”

AUA is also accredited by Armenia’s National Center for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation (ANQA), which recognizes the high standards that WSCUC demands. ANQA Director Ruben Topchyan took to the microphone to express his appreciation for the pioneering influence of AUA on the general educational ecosystem in Armenia: “AUA is a symbol of the culture of continuous enhancement. AUA has a fantastic internal quality assurance system, which continuously improves services to students and the quality of their education.”

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