AUA announces dean and associate dean appointments
Published: Tuesday May 22, 2012
Yerevan - Interim Provost Armen Der Kiureghian announced three senior academic appointments to coincide with the university's new academic restructuring into three Colleges: Dr. Aram Hajian, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Dr. Thomas J. Samuelian, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr. Catherine Buon, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for General Education.
Dr. Hajian received his Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University in 1997 and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1991. He joined AUA in the summer of 2007 as the Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering, becoming Interim Dean in 2008 and Dean of the same college in 2010. He has served as Chair of the Faculty Senate and of the Undergraduate Task Force and as member of several other academic governance bodies, including the Curriculum Committee and the WASC Steering Committee.
The author of a number of publications on mechanical models of human grasp, Dr. Hajian has taught several courses to students in both Industrial Engineering and Systems Management and Computer and Information Science programs of the College of Engineering. He has also served as a technical reviewer and member of several Armenian Government-appointed committees related to large-scale national engineering development projects, including the Prime Minister's Committee for the North-South Road Corridor Investment Program. Dr. Hajian is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Chess Academy of Armenia and has organized several international chess tournaments, including the Grand Prix Events in Jermuk (2008, 2009), the Karabakh International tournaments (2004, 2005), and in 2004 the first elite-level internet-based team tournament. He is a member of the Armenian Chess Federation, heading its Computer/IT committee.
Dr. Samuelian has been in academe for over three decades, beginning his teaching career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1981. He has also taught at Columbia University and St. Nersess Seminary. In 1991 he earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School. After serving as a clerk in US federal court, he practiced international law in Washington, DC, Almaty, and Moscow.
He is founder and managing partner of Arlex International CJSC, which has handled many of Armenia's largest complex investment transactions and contributed to legal reform and the development of the legal profession. He is a licensed member of the Armenian bar. He joined the AUA Law faculty in 1998 and has served as the Dean of the AUA Law Department since 2006. In 2011, he was appointed Accreditation Liaison Officer, guiding AUA's strategic planning, reaccreditation and new program accreditation process. Dr. Samuelian is the author of a number of books, articles, reviews, and translations in the field of Armenian language, literature and history, including an English translation of St. Gregory of Narek's Book of Prayers: Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart (www.stgregoryofnarek.am), a two-volume Course in Modern Western Armenian, Dictionary of Armenian in Transliteration, and Cultural Ecology and Gorbachev's Restructured Union, 32 Harv. Intl.L.J. 159 (1991).
At the Arak-29 Foundation, a Yerevan-based foundation dedicated to Armenian cultural and economic renewal, Dr. Samuelian is team leader for the award-winning www.arak29.am portal. Arak-29 features free Armenian language learning and linguistic tools, Armenian language-learning software programs, spell-checkers, Armenian cultural literacy educational software, Genocide reparations databases, translations, and articles on economic, literary, cultural policy, and environmental issues. He has served as President of the US-based Armenian Bar Association, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia, and as one of two international experts for Armenia's Anti-corruption Strategy. He also headed the RA Ministry of Education Committee for the 2011 English Language Olympiad.
Dr. Buon was born and raised in Northern France. She earned a BA in English Language and Literature at the Université d'Angers, France, where she also obtained a BA in Teaching French as a Foreign Language. After moving to the USA, she earned an MA in French and Francophone Literatures, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Louisiana State University, USA. Dr. Buon is an applied linguist, language specialist, teacher trainer, and administrator with a passion for languages, world cultures, and pedagogy. Her research interests lie primarily in the areas of foreign language reading and writing, curriculum design, and teaching methods.
After teaching French as a Foreign Language and English as a Second Language at the undergraduate and graduate levels for many years in U.S. universities, Dr. Buon's professional career took her around the world teaching English as a Foreign Language in the Middle East and Cyprus; training EFL teachers in Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia; and now in Armenia.
Dr. Buon's administrative experience spans a period of over 15 years. She has held positions as Language Program Coordinator, Exam Coordinator, Foreign Languages Department Head, Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, and Interim Dean at various institutions of higher learning around the world. She joined the AUA faculty in 2010 as Assistant Dean in the Department of English Programs and has served as Interim Dean since January 2012.
The promotions of Drs. Hajian, Samuelian, and Buon will become effective with the university's new academic structure on July 1, 2012.
AUA restructures the organization of its academic units
On April 23, Interim Provost Der Kiureghian announced a major restructuring of the organization of academic and research units of the American University of Armenia (AUA). The new organizational structure is a result of extensive discussions involving a broad spectrum of the University community, starting during the strategic planning meetings in the summer of 2011 and continuing through the fall and winter quarters of the current academic year. The details of the new organizational structure were worked out during a series of meetings of the university administration including the president, the provost and vice presidents of finance and operations. The Board of Trustees of the University has endorsed the reorganization plan, which will become effective July 1, 2012, in anticipation of the start of three new undergraduate programs and one graduate program in the fall of 2013.
The new organizational structure collects the academic units of the University in three Colleges: The College of Business and Economics (CBE), the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), and the College of Science and Engineering (CSE). The CBE will house the existing MBA programs, the planned MS program in Economics, the planned BA program in Business, as well as the Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD). The CHSS will house the existing master's programs in Law, Political Science and International Affairs, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language, the planned undergraduate program in English and Communications, as well as three research centers: the Legal Resource Center (LRC), the Turpanjian Center for Policy Analysis (TCPA), and the Center for Research in Applied Linguistics (CRAL). The CHSS will also oversee General Education courses of the undergraduate programs. The CSE will house the existing master's programs in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management and in Computer and Information Science, the planned undergraduate program in Computational Sciences, and the Engineering Research Center (ERC). The disposition of the master's program in Public Health as well as the Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR) and the Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) is still under discussion. One possibility is that an expanded Public Health program together with the two centers will form a fourth college, tentatively named the College of Health and Environmental Sciences.
The new organizational structure offers significant advantages. First, it is a scalable model that will allow the University to grow as it introduces new programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Second, having multiple academic programs within the umbrella of a single college will enhance interdisciplinary teaching and research, which are keys to high-quality education and scholarship. In fact, to further encourage interdisciplinary interactions, artificial boundaries between the disciplines will be avoided by not creating departments for the degree programs. Rather, the faculty within each college will "belong" to the college and not to the specific degree programs. However, each degree program will have a "Program Chair," who will work with the dean of the college to administer the teaching and curricular activities of the program. This structure will foster interactions among the faculty with diverse backgrounds and create an environment that encourages collaborative teaching and research. Third, the new structure will enhance the diversity of the teaching programs. The present "silo-like" organizational structure of the degree programs into separate departments and colleges does not allow recruitment of full-time faculty. This is because programs are small and no individual instructor can teach more than a few of the diverse set of courses within the program; furthermore, it is not desirable for students to take too many courses from the same instructor. Collecting a set of degree programs into a single college will allow sharing of faculty resources. As a result, students will benefit by experiencing a more diverse set of faculty expertise and teaching styles. No doubt, the new organizational structure will also enhance interactions among students with diverse backgrounds. Finally, the new structure will allow sharing of human and material resources for both degree programs and research centers, thus permitting economies of scale and growth.
In his April 23 letter, the Provost also announced the following appointments effective July 1, 2012:
Dr. Tom Samuelian as the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Dr. Aram Hajian as the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering,
Dr. Catherine Buon as the Associate Dean of CHSS for General Education.
A search for the Dean of the College of Business and Economics is currently underway. Program Chairs for each of the degree programs will be appointed in due time. All these academic leaders will serve in residence.
"We strongly believe that the new organizational structure will significantly enhance the quality of our teaching and research programs and improve our academic administrative operations," says Interim Provost Der Kiureghian. President Boghosian adds, "Our strategic plan calls for a fourfold increase in our student population and a threefold increase in the number of our faculty by 2017. It was important to put in place an organizational structure that could scale with that kind of growth. At the same time, it is important for all to realize that none of our existing degree programs are changing. We will continue to offer all of the master's degrees we do now, and more. The changes are designed to ensure that the students in those programs are exposed to more faculty, and more interdisciplinary scholarship. The goal is to create a richer educational experience for all our students."
The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, nonsectarian, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia. Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California. Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality education in seven different major fields, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.
The American University of Armenia is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001 .