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President Bishkek

The American University of Central Asia (AUCA), an independent, international institution of higher education located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, is seeking an outstanding and dynamic new President for this expanding and exceptional university.

Guided by an international Board of Trustees, supported educationally by academic partnerships with Bard College and the Indiana University (among others), a founding member of the Open Society University Network (among other alliances), and assisted financially (in part) by the U.S. government and the Open Society Foundation, AUCA has established a record of academic excellence in its relatively short, 28-year history.  AUCA was the first university in Central Asia to offer US-accredited degrees in liberal arts programs through a partnership with Bard College, and it continues to be amongst the best teaching and research universities in Central Asia, distinguished by its emphasis on critical thinking and on faculty and student research.  AUCA is a core member of the Open Society University Network, a global network of 41 academic and research institutions committed to principles of an open society.

AUCA’s student body has historically been drawn primarily from Kyrgyzstan, but also from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan (among other countries).  About 56.8 percent of this year’s student body are from Kyrgyzstan and 43.2 percent from foreign countries, and 58 percent of the students are women.  Of AUCA’s 130 full-time and 123 part-time faculty members, 58 are international and 195 are local; many of the local faculty members have studied and trained at leading universities across the globe.  As the U.S. began its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the University undertook a concerted effort to extricate its existing students from Afghanistan and also to offer a safe haven for embassy scholars and other undergraduates at the American University of Afghanistan, as well as Afghan graduates of AUCA who were interested in continuing their studies in M.A. programs at the University.  As a result of this largely successful initiative, the number of students from Afghanistan, in both undergraduate and graduate programs, has increased to over 300, making AUCA a temporary place of academic refuge for many of the best and brightest young scholars from Afghanistan.

The University already has the benefit of a new 2015 purpose-built, architecturally compelling, and environmentally sound 167,000 square foot central building located on 2.7 hectares.  Fortuitously, AUCA has recently been granted the rights to expand its Bishkek campus on 2.83 hectares of contiguous land, which enlarges the University’s land footprint by 105 percent, and is on the verge of securing ASHA funding to build, on that land, a 23,000 square foot Maker Space Learning Center with additional classrooms and meeting rooms.  It is also currently seeking incremental funding (which it would hope to have in place before the next President begins) to recondition an existing, large building on the incremental land conveyed to AUCA to include significantly expanded laboratory facilities, classrooms, working zones, office spaces, as well as student cafeteria and spaces for public gatherings. The renovation is projected to increase the size of the building from 38,000 to 62,000 square feet. Among the challenges (and we hope signature successes) facing the new President will be the oversight of this exciting expansion of the University’s facilities, which will both enhance its educational experience and also offer opportunities to partner with local educational and other institutions.

The University offers fifteen undergraduate (bachelor-level) educational programs and ten graduate (master-level) programs, including a master of business administration (MBA) program.   Graduates receive both an AUCA Bachelor of Arts degree and the Kyrgyz State Diploma.  Graduates from the liberal arts programs also receive a BA degree from Bard College; while graduates in the business administration and law programs receive a certificate from Bard.  Classes at AUCA are conducted in English, and the course of study is designed to prepare students for the contemporary world where critical thinking, communication skills, and life-long learning have become imperative.  In addition, AUCA offers college preparatory programs (New Generation Academy) in English, mathematics, computer basics, and study skills, and an affiliated entity – the AUCA Technical School of Innovation – operates a college preparatory secondary school program.

The successful candidate – while not necessarily American – will need to represent the best of the values of American liberal arts education, display excellent diplomatic skills as well as cultural sensitivity.  

Application Procedure

All inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications, which should include a resume or curriculum vitae and a letter describing the applicant’s interest in this leadership position and describing their experiences and skills that will enable them to meet the challenges set forth in this invitation, should be sent electronically.

Sean Farrell is leading this with Raul Bernal. search.

AUCA is an equal opportunity employer.


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