BOONE — Appalachian State University has signed an agreement with the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) in the United Arab Emirates that establishes a collaborative undergraduate transfer student program in hospitality management.
The agreement, titled “AURAK-Appalachian 3+1 Undergraduate Transfer Student Program in Hospitality Management,” was signed by Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts and AURAK President Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim on Dec. 12.
“Appalachian has long-established relationships with institutions of higher learning around the world, and we are pleased to expand the agreement with AURAK initiated in 2015,” Everts said. “We are looking forward to continued partnership with AURAK, as international partnerships enrich our campus culture and broaden the global experience for the entire Appalachian Community.”
“We are proud to welcome students from AURAK to live and learn at Appalachian,” said Appalachian Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Darrell Kruger. “When our students make global connections on campus or abroad, they better understand their responsibilities as citizens of the world and build their cultural literacy. This is particularly beneficial as our graduates take their places in the world marketplace.”
Everts and other university leaders plan to visit the AURAK campus in January 2020.
The 3+1 undergraduate TSP in hospitality management was developed at AURAK’s request in order to meet the human resources needs of the hospitality industry in Ras Al Khaimah, one of seven emirates of the UAE.
Under the agreement, qualified AURAK students who have successfully completed the first three years of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree curriculum in business with a major in hospitality management will be accepted into the Department of Management in Appalachian’s Walker College of Business to pursue hospitality management courses.
“The Walker College of Business has a long history of developing strong international partnerships,” said Heather Hulburt Norris, dean of the Walker College of business. “This agreement is an important milestone in a key relationship for the college.”
Those AURAK students accepted to Appalachian will spend one year at the university completing required hospitality management courses in order to qualify for their bachelor’s degree in business, awarded by AURAK. All hospitality management courses completed at Appalachian will be transferred to AURAK.
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is providing AURAK with five annual scholarships valued around $13,000 each to send students to the U.S. to study hospitality and tourism management. All of the scholarship recipients are anticipated to be sent to Appalachian under the new agreement, with the first AURAK students attending Appalachian in spring of 2021.
Appalachian’s partnership with AURAK began with the signing of a formal agreement between the two institutions in March 2015.
According to Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development, several Appalachian and AURAK students have completed exchange programs since the universities’ partnership began. Two AURAK students who studied at Appalachian during the 2015–16 academic year transferred to Appalachian as degree-seeking students after completing their exchange program, and one Appalachian student studied at AURAK in fall 2015.
Carol Kline, associate professor in ASU’s Walker College of Business, recently returned from AURAK, where she worked with professor Joe Wallis, dean of AURAK’s School of Business, on the four-year curriculum for a Bachelor of Business Administration in hospitality and tourism management at AURAK.
Additionally, while visiting Appalachian, Alkim and Wallis met with faculty and staff members in Walker College to discuss the new agreement and other opportunities in the college.
AURAK was established in 2009 and located in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, AURAK is an independent coeducation institution of higher education that provides an integrated, American-style undergraduate and graduate education with a strong focus on local indigenous culture. The university, which offers 18 undergraduate and four graduate degree programs, has a diverse student body of more than 1,006 students, which is projected to grow to 3,000 students in the near future.
AURAK is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges — the same commission through which Appalachian is accredited — to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees.