President Dekle: Why AUN Students Thrive Where Others Falter

President Dekle: Why AUN Students Thrive Where Others Falter

A successful university experience at AUN, says President Dekle, is anchored on the solid student support services available here.

President Dekle told new students during the August 29 welcome session that the support provided by AUN would make them thrive.

"So we have the Academic & Retention unit in place, we have the residence hall support structures in place, our professors who teach first-year students are in place to catch you if you start to dive. We want to see you succeed in your first year."

Elaborating further on the concept, the President said ‘Thrivers' are students who perform better at university than their secondary grades predict while ‘Divers' are students who perform worse at university than their secondary-school grades predict.

She said a major difference between these two is that ‘Thrivers' plan to study three or more hours a week more than divers.

"They have strong study habits; they are organized… we want to make sure all of you are thrivers. Even if you made A's in high school, we want to see you make A+ here. We want to make sure all of you are thrivers."

The university does not just make students succeed in their academics alone. It prepares them to succeed in life through 'the AUN advantage.' These internalized values include diversity, tolerance, and inclusiveness.

"We are diverse, not just in appearance but in mindsets. We are very diverse in our opinions here. We welcome all of it. We are tolerant of each other. We are here to learn from each other. Nigeria is one of the most diverse and tolerant places on the planet."

In their various classes, students will be assigned projects where they would be required to work in groups. The President said there is usually a conscious effort to ensure that there is a mix of ethnic groups, genders, and religions working together in the projects.

"So you learn how to cooperate. Then you bridge all those differences. Nigeria is worth it. The future of your country is worth it."

A major platform of support by professors is the office hours they are required to maintain. These times are usually not less than five hours a week and are outside the class time of students. She encouraged the new students to ensure that they make use of this platform to understand further where they would need to improve.

She told the students that the structure of the American-style curriculum that AUN operates is one that prepares them for success. It is a no-delay system as it ensures that students start working right from the first day of class.

"People often ask me what this American style is all about. What does that even mean? For me, it is a continuous assessment. It means if you have a semester that is 15 weeks long; it means that once a week, you are turning in some sort of an assignment. Whether it is a homework assignment, it could be a presentation, it could be group work, and it could be anything."

The small class size that characterizes many American universities is typical at AUN.

"Most of your classes would have less than 20 students. That's great because that means your professors will learn your name, learn your habits, learn whether you are late to class, and learn whether you are doing your homework. You cannot hide. We are here. We are going to see you. We give a continuous assessment."

In a nutshell, besides the support provided by AUN, the curriculum itself is designed to make students thrive as continuous feedback from professors make students learn quickly from their mistakes.

Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa