The American University of Bahrain (AUBH) recently received US accreditation through WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), one of the seven best-known accrediting agencies in the USA. This makes AUBH among only a handful of other universities to be accredited by this world-renowned commission in the GCC and MENA region.
AUBH was awarded accreditation for upholding the highest international academic standards for educational quality and effectiveness. Accreditation is a voluntary process and is unique to the United States, where higher education is not directly regulated by the government. Accreditation supports universities in improving existing processes and helps affirm a ‘culture of evidence’ at AUBH.
AUBH was launched in 2019 by Elm Education, a Bahrain-based education investment fund established by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, with the goal of being the Kingdom’s first comprehensive, purpose-built, co-educational university based on the American model.
AUBH is licensed by the Higher Education Council of the Ministry of Education in Bahrain, the national regulator for the Kingdom’s Higher Education Institutions, and is a CIQG Member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the US. AUBH has also recently achieved official recognition by the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Bradley Cook, AUBH President, expressed his delight at achieving a significant milestone in the university’s history. “With quality assurance as a strategic priority, we are very proud to be accredited by WSCUC,” he said. “This accreditation will facilitate and promote scientific, cultural and student exchanges as well as attract international students to study in Bahrain.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share the same accreditor as some of the best universities in the US.”
Dr. Cook believes that this accreditation will strengthen the bonds of cooperation with international universities and provide direct benefit to students in credit and degree transfers to American institutions of higher education. This is within the framework of the university’s aim to open up to international universities, thus contributing to the development of the whole educational process and, ultimately, Bahrain.
HE Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of Mumtalakat, said: “Education is one of our priority sectors at Mumtalakat and therefore we established Elm Education Fund to develop the education sector in Bahrain and the region. Elm’s first investment was in AUBH, and we are pleased to celebrate this new milestone that aligns with our goals of investing in Bahrain for Bahrain.”
The announcement was made at the university campus in the presence of dignitaries including HE Dr. Shaikha Rana bint Isa bin Duaij Al Khalifa, Secretary General of the Higher Education Council (HEC), David Brownstein, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, members of AUBH’s Board of Governors, Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, AUBH Provost, William D. Hurt, AUBH Chief Operating Officer, and a number of government officials, educational leaders, faculty and staff.
This US regional accreditation holds the highest level of quality assurance at the institutional level for higher education. The process usually takes five years and is guided by 16 rigorous eligibility criteria. These included a ‘Seeking Accreditation Visit’, during which an evaluation team flew to Bahrain and visited the university to determine whether it had met the expected academic standards and inspected the state-of-the-art campus, which was built with US accreditation in mind by architect Ayers Saint Gross.