While most students were off visiting families or vacationing abroad, AAU’s staff was busy at work and changes occurred over the summer. If you want to do some university souvenir-shopping – you’re out of luck, and texting in class can now get you expelled. Here is what you have missed:
* Non-existent gift shop: Returning students, who were enrolled at AAU in the past years, may have had trouble locating the gift shop. It used to be situated at Lazenska 2 – current home of the computer lab, student lounge and several classrooms – but, it is no longer there. The operation management decided to shut it down. Head receptionist Miroslava Petrakova said that it was too expensive of a service for its proper running. However, the management does plan to reopen the gift shop once the school moves to its new premises in the Fall of 2014 (see paragraph four). Until then, souvenir shopping will have to wait.
* Adjustments in the handbook: As in the previous years, the student handbook was adjusted this summer. Vice Provost, Katarina Svitkova said that this was done to clarify policies that the Faculty or administration found to be insufficiently explained. Some of these clarifications include details about the bounding of theses. The BA thesis must be soft cover, while the MA thesis must be hard cover. Another change – not in the handbook, but in the class syllabi – is a ban on mobile phones in classrooms. As of Fall 2014, professors have the right to expel students from class for using their phones.
* New Korean exchange: The first, confirmed exchange location so far, is the Kookmin University in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Kookmin is a prominent, private university – the first of its kind since South Korean independence – which encompasses 16 colleges, ranging from Humanities to Engineering. It also includes various graduate schools. AAU students now have the opportunity to explore this attractive option. However, due to the structure of the academic year, agreements regarding exchange programs are generally worked out throughout the Fall semester. Thus, students interested in doing an exchange should keep an eye out for the announcement of new destinations which will happen this February.
* AAU’s relocation: AAU’s new campus will still be located around the beautiful Mala Strana, but two out of its three buildings will be abandoned all together. This being, the Lazenska 2 and 4 buildings. The main building will move to a larger premise; House of Thrun and Taxis Palace located at Letenska 5, near the Wallenstein Palace and its gorgeous gardens. Dr. Hrishabh Sandilya, Vice President for External Relations & Development, said that move was motivated by the outgrowing of the current premises. “We’ve been growing at about 10% per year in terms of overall student numbers” said Sandilya.
According to Sandilya, the facilities will improve and there will be much more of “a campus feel.” When asked whether he feels like this expansion is a stepping-stone in AAU history he said, “Definitely. I think this will just cement our reputation as the private school to go to in this country… and I think in some ways
it strengthens our commitment to Prague 1. We are in Prague 1, moving to another location in Prague 1 and that we want to be in the heart of Prague.”
* The road to WASC: The university is aiming to gain the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation by 2016. WASC is a regional accrediting association in the United States and is used by top-notch universities, such as Stanford. Katarina Svitkova Ph.D. – Vice President & Accreditation Liaison Officer – said that AAU is seeking the accreditation to gain additional proof that it offers quality education. Once the accreditation is received “all graduates of AAU will receive diplomas accredited not only by the Czech Ministry of Education but also by WASC”, said Svitkova “making the diplomas stronger in the US and world market.”