A Promise of Academic Excellence

by Behnaz Sanjana

Wed, 04 September 2019

dr susan e saxton president of american university of bahrain

I joined academe over 25 years ago, and have a strong background in business and education.”

Dr Susan E Saxton is the new boss lady in town, wielding her professional prowess as president of the freshly-minted American University of Bahrain (AUBH).

Armed with a Master’s Degree in Law, doctorates in Human Services, Psychology and Organisation and Management, as well as a Master’s of Science in Business Administration, Finance, it is an understatement to say that Dr Saxton perfectly fits the bill to oversee the running of the new AUBH.

“I joined academe over 25 years ago, and have a strong background in business and education,” she says. “This is very important for the head of a university, to understand the faculty’s creative teaching styles, as well as the mechanics, technology, finance and operation of the institution.” Having worked with world-renowned educational establishments, her combined skillsets enable her to give this role her best shot. 

Supported by her team, she is all set for AUBH’s opening this month. “We will initially offer four-year degree programmes at the Bachelor level in Business Administration [for finance, management and hospitality management], and in Science [for industrial and computer engineering, and multimedia design].

When the discussion veers towards the university’s campus, it sparks a twinkle in the erudite scholar’s eye. “I haven’t seen a campus in Bahrain like the one we’ve built,” she says.

” This American-style campus is designed to give students a holistic experience – a place where they can learn, be mentored by their faculty, get peer support, and can take part in various social and extracurricular activities. Our auditorium will see eminent speakers address our students and students themselves presenting to the university community. Features like water designs adorn the campus’s landscape and add to the unique, positive learning environment.” 

The AUBH campus boasts academic and student life buildings, a contemporary library, a sports centre with a large gymnasium, a football field and student commons.  Technologically advanced classrooms, seminar and case study rooms and group study spaces support active and collaborative learning environments. The building structures are smartly designed to maximise energy efficiency. An inaugural run around the campus will precede the start of the very first semester, to imbibe into students the importance of physical activity, teamwork, being good winners and graceful losers.

Speaking of the faculty, Dr Saxton says: “We hand-picked professors who are well-versed with the unique American teaching methods and standards, which focus on critical thinking, negotiation, problem-solving, professionalism and good communication. The idea is to have our students not only be technically competent, but also have soft skills important for work life. This is what we mean by imparting a well-rounded educational experience. From over 2,500 resumes, we have chosen the best experts to teach in their respective streams at our university. We also have a high calibre of qualified Bahraini staff in the operational area.

“Going forward, I would like AUBH to partner with regional companies on incubators, accelerators, joint programmes and short courses on topics of interest to students and the community. We will have career fairs where we will encourage students to get involved in staging the event itself, because the campus will also be their home. By celebrating local festivities, we aim to be a full-fledged member of the community here.”


The AUBH campus has a capacity of 4,000 students, and, in the future, will offer short courses in fintech, data sciences, Artificial Intelligence, and English among others, to benefit the wider community.