American University of Malta will not divulge number of new students yet

The university's director of recruitment said that applications had been received from 26 countires but would not give a number of students that had enrolled for the coming scholastic year

'Sadeen Building’ is the name of AUM’s academic building that houses lecture rooms, the library, labs and administration facilities (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
'Sadeen Building’ is the name of AUM’s academic building that houses lecture rooms, the library, labs and administration facilities (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

The American University of Malta will not divulge the number of new students joining its courses in the coming academic year because enrolment ends in October.

Lee Westphal, director of recruitment at AUM, told MaltaToday the university has received applications from students from 26 countries but refrained from quantifying the response.

“AUM’s course enrolment period ends on 5 October and new international students are slated to begin arriving in Malta on 27 August,” Westphal said.

The academic calendar on the university’s website lists 27 August as the “first day of class and fee payment”, with mid-term exams starting on 15 October.

But Westphal said that being an American-style university in a European country, the institution felt it was “prudent to accommodate both the American and European traditional academic calendar start dates”. He did not elaborate.

AUM’s first academic year (2017/2018) was dogged by poor enrolment. The start-up institution only managed to recruit 23 students last year, having had to scale down its initial target to attract some 300 students in its first intake.

Westphal insisted the university was “on track” with plans to develop a campus atmosphere conducive to academic learning and attract a student body that is as much as possible representative of the world.

Responding to concerns on social media about the appearance of a sign on the Bormla campus façade with the words ‘Sadeen Building’, Westphal said this was the name of the academic building.

“Our academic building, the Sadeen Building, is nearing completion. It houses our lecture rooms, library, labs, and administration facilities,” Westphal said.

Sadeen is the Jordanian-owned company behind AUM and the sign raised suspicion that part of the building was going to be used for operations not linked to the university, in breach of contractual obligations.

Sadeen was given a public building and land in Bormla’s Dock 1 area and a large stretch of land at Żonqor Point in Marsaskala to develop university campuses that should eventually house 4,000 students.

Works on the Bormla campus have moved ahead, while an application for the construction of the Żonqor campus is pending in front of the Planning Authority.

Westphal said AUM currently had seven undergraduate and one graduate programmes in place and another three undergraduate and one graduate programmes under review by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE).

“As part of our preparations for these new programmes, we’ve added to our academic staff, hiring instructors from eight countries,” he added.

AUM had axed all its academic staff late last year, just before their six-month probation period was up. The drastic decision was a direct result of the poor student intake. The institution later recruited fewer academics.

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