AUM deal with Arkansas State University frozen after nearly all staff dismissed

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

An agreement signed last March between the American University of Malta (AUM) and Arkansas State University (ASU) has been frozen owing to concerns about the removal of almost all the faculty teachers last year.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette says that the agreement signed months ago in the presence of the Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, is currently being scrutinized.

According to the newspaper, the deal has raised questions among ASU teachers who were worried about the dismissal of AUM employees.  Last year AUM removed nearly all its faculty except for one. This apparently resulted in a number of bad reviews appearing on the AUM’s Glassdoor webpage.

ASU’s faculty senate President and Professor of Psychology Loretta Neal McGregor, said that she the questions raised about this have been answered. A 16-member committee has been formed to review the international agreements and to provide their recommendations over whether they should be followed through with. This includes the AUM Malta agreement.

According to Thilla Sivakumaran, Executive Director of ASU’s Division of Global Strategies and Outreach, AUM had actively reached out to ASU to create a partnership.

The report also explains that ASU’s Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, had only found out about the problems surrounding the Malta university and its low enrollment after having signed the agreement.  Between the academic year of 2017-2018, there were only 23 students actively enrolled in the school, a number of reports had found. The university had later said that was ‘nearly 100’ in Spring 2019.

AUM is considered to be a university in the style of the US model with a number of its faculty staff holding degrees at US institutions. The founders on the other hand, are a construction company from Jordan, the Sadeen Group.

While there was initial criticism from other universities to set up agreements with AUM, the university got its license after two US universities; Clemson and DePaul agreed to audit and support development of its courses.

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