The AURAK Leadership Team includes the President, Provost, Vice-President, Associate Provosts and Deans. Under the leadership of the AURAK President, the leadership team provides strategic and operational direction to the University.
Meet AURAK’s Leadership Team.
Dr. David A. Schmidt
+971 7 246 8802
Dr. Schmidt is a seasoned administrator with over 33 years of broad-based experience as an executive academic leader and faculty member, spanning a wide range of public, private, and international institutions. Before joining AURAK, he served as President of the American University in Dubai (AUD), and Vice Provost for International Affairs and Professor of Global Studies and Human Geography at Middle Tennessee State University. He has held various leadership positions and played a vital role in transforming a range of public, private, and state institutions, representing the landscape of higher education, including the University of the Pacific, the University of Wisconsin System, and Yale University. Dr. Schmidt holds a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University, an MA from The Ohio State University, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin. He has written extensively on post-WWII women’s rights and education issues in Japan and South Korea. He is a recipient of the AIEA (Association of International Administrators) Presidential Fellowship, the Korea Foundation Research Fellowship, and the Mombushō Fellowship. He also participated as a fellow in Harvard University’s IEM (Institute for Educational Management).
Prof. Stephen Wilhite
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success / Provost / Professor - Psychology
H 301 F
+971 7 246 8700
Professor Stephen C. Wilhite currently serves as vice president for academic affairs and student success, and provost, at the American University of Ras Al Khamiah. Prior to assuming this position, he served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Widener University in the United States from 2011 to 2017, and during that time also served as the interim president of the university. As provost at Widener, Prof. Wilhite co-led the university’s strategic planning process and the successful application for re-accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Mr. Basheer Daoud
Vice President – Operational Excellence and Financial Management
F - 1st Flr.
+971 7 246 8901
Mr. Basheer Daoud serves as the Vice President of Operational Excellence and Financial Management at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK). He has over 30 years rich experience in finance, internal audit, public accounting and enterprise risk management including 18 years in senior management roles gaining these experiences from across different countries specifically in UAE, Canada, Oman and Yemen. Before joining AURAK, he held a senior leadership position as the Executive Director of Finance at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) with many key achievements including where he led efforts to establish and manage investment strategy for endowments, created financial modeling for future financial planning, negotiated and restructured key government receivables, led and implemented transformation plans for Finance and Procurement that are based on people, processes and technology, put in place and implemented numerous financial policies and procedures. Before being appointed as the Executive Director of Finance, Mr. Basheer served as the Director of Internal Audit at AUS where he demonstrated his proficient understanding and implementation of IFRS, US GAAP, COSO framework, IIA Core Principles for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. Mr. Basheer held key positions in various industries including a large steel manufacturing company in Canada, global energy and chemicals company in Yemen and big four audit firm in Oman and UAE. Mr. Basheer holds an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) degree from the American University of Sharjah and Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Jordan. He is also a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) earning both certifications from the U.S.
Prof. Joseph Wallis
Dean - School of Business / Professor - Management
+971 7 246 8788
Professor Joseph L. Wallis has served as Dean of the School of Business at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah since 2018. His primary focus has been in developing and steering leadership team and faculty toward the implementation of a mission-based strategy so that it will be judged ready to receive initial accreditation by AACSB after a visit by a peer review team in February 2023.
Prof. Khalid Hussain
Dean – School of Engineering / Professor of Systems Engineering
+971 7 246 8754
Professor Khalid Hussain is the Dean of the School of Engineering at AURAK. He is also a Professor of Systems Engineering and a Chartered Mechanical Engineer. Prof Hussain joined AURAK after spending 6 years at the Australian University of Wollongong in Dubai as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences. Prof Hussain spent over 22 years at the University of Bradford in UK, holding a number of leadership roles (Head of School of Engineering, Associate Dean of International Collaborative Partnership, and the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering).
Prof. Hariclea Zengos
Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences / Professor of English
+971 7 246 8787
Professor Hariclea Zengos, a distinguished professor of literature, is the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah. With more than 28 years of experience, Prof Zengos has been selected to provide leadership and vision in strategic planning and implementation of programs and lead School development activities.
Dr. Tahseen Anwer Arshi
Associate Provost for Research and Community Service / Associate Professor / Director - The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
+971 7 246 8890
Dr. Tahseen is the Associate Provost for Research and Community Service, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at AURAK (ACE), and an associate professor in the Business School. In addition, Dr. Tahseen is a Certified Entrepreneurship Educator and external reviewer with the Directorate of Higher Education Reviews Authority (DHR) Bahrain, Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA), and National Academic Accreditation and Evaluation (Saudi Arabia). Dr. Tahseen invented the SECURE (patented) system to assist start-ups in evaluating business plans (https://www.securecanvas.net). He is a member of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and Data Central. Dr. Tahseen specializes in designing and delivering technology-enhanced curricula, and his research interests are entrepreneurial behavior, start-up business models, and innovation. In addition, Dr. Tahseen is a quantitative researcher specializing in structural equation Modeling and machine learning tests. Dr. Tahseen has authored several Scopus (Q1)-indexed publications in premium journals and case studies, published in Palgrave McMillan's bestselling entrepreneurship textbooks in the UK.
Dr. Kevin Scott Konecny
Associate Provost for Student Affairs / Assistant Professor of Education
+971 7 246 8860
Dr. Kevin S. Konecny serves as the Associate Provost for Student Affairs at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK). Dr. Konecny has 32 years of higher education experience in the United States and abroad, including Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China, Guam, and the United Kingdom.