The Founding of the University
Given the challenging conditions facing higher education institutions in Nigeria, AUN stands poised to become a premier university in West Africa. It is designed to provide a world-class institution at home for high achieving students unable to study abroad. AUN expects to train the future leaders of West Africa and to serve as an agent of economic development throughout the region providing the skills and the leadership essential to solving the continent’s pressing social and economic problems. The University is committed to educating students to develop critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and lifelong learning skills needed for success in contemporary society and workplaces.
The Academic Program
The University’s initial undergraduate and future graduate programs are built around high admissions standards, and pedagogies aimed at critical thinking and problem solving. All University classes are conducted in English. The academic programs are built on the American model and are consistent in every way with U.S. accreditation standards. AUN is a career-oriented-institution with the goal of meeting the professional aspirations of students and the demand by local and international employers for highly trained staff.
The University has three schools devoted respectively to arts & sciences, business & entrepreneurship, and information, technology & communication. The choice of these three schools was driven by an analysis of the country and the region’s needs, and by looking at employment data, industry needs by segment, student demand, and the availability of support both in West Africa and abroad. In all of the 15 degree programs offered, AUN integrates liberal studies and professional education to provide its graduates a breadth of choices for academic and technical specialization.
Class sizes are small, thus allowing frequent interaction between faculty and students. In a country with chronic electricity shortfalls and limited internet connectivity, AUN provides 24 hours of electricity to all its buildings. Academic buildings are equipped with state-of-the-art science, engineering and language laboratories, digital studios and computer facilities. The library boasts a collection of 20,000 volumes as well as an expansive collection of online databases providing a wealth of information accessible to students from any location on campus.
A distinctive and exciting feature of the student experience is that upon arrival to campus, every student receives a laptop computer, complete with essential software. AUN boasts the largest wireless network in West Africa and high-speed Internet access is available throughout the campus, indoors and out. Furthermore, every student, regardless of major, receives high-level training in information technology and receives fundamental education in business and entrepreneurship. AUN teaches students how to succeed by designing the curricula to ensure that students will have the skills needed to pursue rewarding careers upon graduation. The University is working to conform to the highest international standards and is planning to secure accreditation in the United States within the next three to five years. The University has already secured Nigerian accreditation.
In May 2009, AUN graduated its first entering class of students admitted as freshmen in 2005. Student enrollment has grown rapidly over the past four years and now numbers 1300 with approximately 90 faculty members.
Notable features of the University include:
- American University, Washington Support: The consulting agreement with AU provides AUN with advice on and assistance with wide ranging expertise in all aspects of the institution’s operations.
- Academic Prominence: In its brief four-year history, AUN has gained prominence in the region. The institution offers distinctive academic programs designed, and through research or outreach activities, supports the socio-economic needs of local communities and West African countries served, especially in combating poverty and disease. This prominence has enabled the University to attract high achieving students.
- Expanding Enrollment: From an enrollment of 126 students in 2004, the University has experienced rapid growth to 1300 this year while simultaneously increasing admission standards. Each year, AUN receives 10 times as many applications as it can accommodate.
- Supportive Board of Trustees: The Board of Trustees composed of 19 Nigerian and international members, is strongly supportive of AUN’s mission and is increasingly engaged in working with senior administration in its governance and policy-making role. The Board has and will continue to play an instrumental role in fundraising and developing support for AUN.
- Diverse Community: As the percentage of international students, faculty and staff increases, AUN offers a unique opportunity for a culturally diverse community to work together. The fact that most students and faculty and some staff and their families live on or close to the campus in University-provided housing gives the University leadership an exceptional opportunity to facilitate the establishment of a strong multicultural community.