Anglo-American University, the most international institution in the Czech Republic, is being recognised as an innovative leader on a global stage.

Anglo-American University’s selection as a top-3 finalist for Innovation in Internationalisation by the European Association for International Education highlighted the singularity of our international philosophy. Many institutions today are striving to internationalize by growing their international student population or expanding study abroad programs while AAU can simply say that, with 80% of our students from abroad, we are by definition international.

How does AAU’s history affect its international identity?

Anglo-American University has a unique position in the Czech higher education system. It was both the first private institution of higher education in the Czech Republic (founded 1990) and the first to offer programs entirely in English. This unique context has positioned AAU to be international from conception, meaning there was never a shift in identity or a movement to diversify. AAU is built around international principles and the philosophy that in today’s global world a global education is pivotal to any student’s success.

Why does double accreditation matter in an international context? 

We combine both British and American educational principles with Central European academic tradition and we see our mission as providing students with the skills they need to effect positive change at local, national and international levels.  In pursuit of this aim, we have achieved both Czech accreditation and US accreditation through the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), to run in parallel. This makes AAU the only Czech HEI accredited to both European and US standards, allowing us not only to explore the synergies between European and American styles of teaching, but also to offer students a double guarantee of quality. Our students leave AAU knowing they have received a degree that is globally recognised and respected.

Is AAU’s system really innovative?

It is almost axiomatic today that education cannot simply repeat the tried and trusted verities of the past, but must instead prepare students for the full complexity of the modern world, and the value of international curricula and cross-border programs are much discussed as mechanisms. In a European context, however, this usually means cooperation between two or more European institutions awarding a joint diploma. Not many European HEIs have taken the path of integrating their curricula to US models of accreditation and AAU is the first to do so in the Czech Republic, making us a true innovator in this way.

Why should higher education prioritize internationalisation?

We like to say that the world is our classroom and Prague is our campus. The sense of ease with which our students navigate both the diversity of our classrooms and the double perspective of our curricula testifies to the benefits of this approach and we are optimistic that our experience can serve as an inspiration for other institutions.

What tips did AAU highlight to conference goers as key to our success?

AAU focuses on comprehensive and thorough internationalisation, including all stakeholders of the university. It is important to realize that internationalisation must not be limited to the ratio of international students but also include curricular internationalisation and methodology. While this is not an easy task to do, internationalization should be approached as a bottom to top process in order to be successful and impactful.

What were the main takeaways from the 2018 EAIE conference?

  1. It is important that institutions of Higher Education collaborate closer on the national level to exchange best practices and common challenges.

  2. Faculty and staff development with a focus on international competencies lays the basis for an outcome-orientated environment for students, which today is still one of the biggest challenges, especially in Central European countries.

  3. Nowadays international cooperations is very creative and innovative and there is great potential for collaborations beyond the traditional exchange program model.

Did AAU receive any feedback at the conference?

JakubTesař, Head of the Higher Education Department at Dům Zahraniční Spolupráce expressed his congratulations on our selection by noting, “Many great things are happening in the Czech Republic in the field of internationalization and it’s wonderful that the world starts to notice. #EAIE2018”

Further, many partners and potential new partners were excited to hear about AAU’s mission to evolve into a Learning Hub which includes also nontraditional programs and experiential learning.

Answers were provided by Cyril Simsa, Director for International Cooperation and Eva Rivera, Vice President for Development and Communications, both of whom represented AAU at the 2018 EAIE Conference.

For more information regarding AAU please email [email protected]

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Publication date: September 27, 2018