The AUN Advantage
Coming to AUN and experiencing an American-style university education is new for most African students and for their parents. We are very conscious of the cultural differences (and similarities) between Nigeria and the United States and work hard to develop an intercultural understanding among all members of the AUN community. An American-styled education focuses on critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership development. In addition, our education is based on the following principles: that every individual deserves equal respect, is unique, and deserves the knowledge and skills to be good citizens in order to improve society.
Unlike universities in many other countries, in addition to studying a specialty such as "Petroleum Chemistry" or "Marketing" or "English Literature,” American universities have programs in "General Education." That means students study more broadly; they learn ideas from other specialties. They learn ethics, and history, and culture, and languages, and literature, and science. We call this a "well-rounded" education. We are training not just specialists, but also knowledgeable global citizens.
MAJORS AND MINORS
As in all universities, each student is expected to specialize in a particular course of study. In the American system, such specialties are called “majors.” All students will graduate with a particular major. Some students also want to learn about another field of study in some depth, but not as their primary focus. In the American system, such sub-specialties are called “minors.” Thus, one could major in Economics and minor in Journalism, or have some other combinations.
Some courses are required of all students, and some are courses that students choose themselves as electives. Students (with the help of their Chair and academic advisors) get to choose which course in science--for example--is most interesting and helpful. Even "majors" and "minors" allow students to make some individual choices within their respective specialties.
The result is that at the end of four years with us, no two students have taken exactly the same courses. Everyone would have had an individual education, because everyone has different talents, interests and goals. Everyone is an individual, and every education unique.
Because some of the distinctive features of American education are to help train students to think for themselves, be creative, and solve new problems, students are required to actively participate in class. They don't just sit and absorb what comes from teachers, books, and the Internet. They are expected to ask questions, discuss the course materials with fellow-students and professors, read avidly, think critically, and confidently defend their own ideas. They are also expected to respectfully challenge, engage and debate with their instructors. These, we believe, will help students learn how to become creative, assertive adults; and the activities count towards the final grades for each course taken.