A Word from the President…

Dear Members of the
AUP Alumni Community

By Celeste Schenck / Created 2010-10-15

Fall beckons in Paris, heralding in another year of exciting transformation on campus.  This is the year we go fully on-line—the AUP Magazine in this new interactive format, the catalog and other AUP publications, but most important of all, for students, on-line registration.  The era of standing in lines in Bosquet has officially ended!  This shift goes hand in hand with our mission to contribute to an increasingly sustainable world, and thus to reduce our reliance upon paper and the costs of sending documents physically across the globe, and our desire to bind AUP alumni and friends worldwide into a tightly knit, highly functioning virtual community.  Welcome to these newly configured ranks.  As we plan for a year-long fiftieth birthday celebration in two years, we will be using technology to provide a seat at the table for each and every one of you in the 133 countries you live in across the globe. 

In alignment with our commitment to sustainability, this fall AUP began a full recycling project on campus as the result of a strong partnership between the Student Government Association (SGA) and the administration.  In that, AUP is a pioneer in France—one of the very first institutions of higher learning to recycle in this country.  Strong collaborations made this move possible.  The student Environmental Club brought a vision paper to the Faculty Senate and the president, and what ensued was unanimous support for double-sided printing and a first recycling program.  Students are currently educating their peers, and us in the faculty and administration, on how to participate actively in such a community effort. 

The curriculum too reflects this set of commitments.  Last year, AUP opened a Master’s in Cross-Cultural and Sustainable Business Management.  This fall, we welcomed our first class of students in a Master’s in Public Policy and International Law, a program offered in tandem with Oxford University.  At the undergraduate level, faculty have integrated thinking about sustainability in many of the majors, and we’ve opened a new self-organized major that has attracted students working in this area.  A new undergraduate program and a Master’s in Sustainable Development Practice are currently being created.  

Why this interest on campus in educating students to be active participants in such initiatives?  As each of you know, the environment knows no country.  It is the concern of everyone on the planet and it forcibly transcends all cultural, linguistic, and national boundaries.  It is our collective work to protect and sustain it.  To fully understand one’s role as a world citizen with respect to the environment, one needs a particular kind of education.  All teaching and learning experiences on campus, from our FirstBridge learning communities to our Master’s programs reflect our commitment to liberal-arts style critical thinking, interdisciplinary exploration of the complex world we live in, and active hands-on learning in teams, via applications, or at the knees of seasoned professionals.  There can be no separation between liberal arts learning and pre-professional preparation if we are to solve the problems facing humanity today.  In this context, an AUP education has never been more relevant.  

Celeste Schenck
President, The American University of Paris