Office of the President

About Us

About aurak-tab-img-01

Under the leadership of the President, the Division of the President oversees AURAK’s strategy, policy development, reputation, compliance, and advancement within the local, national, regional, and international communities.

The Office of the President manages the President’s internal and external activities, engagements, special projects, agreements, reporting, and documentation.

Dr. David A. Schmidt was appointed by the AURAK Board of Trustees on 21st August 2023 to the position of President. Dr. Schmidt brings to AURAK 33 years of broad-based experience as an executive academic leader and faculty member, spanning a wide range of public, private, and international institutions.

Biography

President for Biography

Dr. David A. Schmidt was appointed by the AURAK Board of Trustees on 21st August 2023 to the position of President.

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).

Leadership

Dr. David A. Schmidt, a seasoned academic leader with over 33 years of experience, has assumed the role of President at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), a prominent institution in the UAE. His extensive background spans a diverse range of educational settings, encompassing both public and private institutions and international collaborations.

Prior to his appointment at AURAK, Dr. Schmidt served as the President of the American University in Dubai (AUD). He successfully guided the university through the SACSCOC re-accreditation process and implemented innovative strategies that led to substantial enrollment growth.

Dr. Schmidt's vision for AURAK is rooted in his belief in the importance of collaborative leadership and global engagement in the face of the transformative changes affecting higher education. He is committed to leveraging his administrative acumen to guide the university toward its goals and build upon its remarkable achievements.

Drawing from his extensive international experience, Dr. Schmidt embraces a forward-thinking approach that encourages students, faculty, and staff to embrace cross-cultural learning and collaboration opportunities. With a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University, an MA from The Ohio State University, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin, he has a solid academic foundation that has been enriched by his roles at various institutions and his extensive research on women's rights and education in Japan and South Korea.

As a recipient of prestigious fellowships and a Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management (IEM) participant, Dr. Schmidt is well-prepared to steer AURAK toward continued excellence. His leadership is poised to contribute significantly to the university's growth, international reputation, and commitment to producing graduates who are prepared to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Role and Responsibilities

roles-and-responsibilities-1jpg

As President of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Dr. David A. Schmidt has the critical role in leading the development, maintenance, and sound execution of the university.

Dr. Schmidt, as Ex Officio to the Board of Trustees, achieves this by:

  • Providing visible and authentic leadership to establish AURAK as a leading university in the UAE and Gulf region.
  • Engaging the university in strategy to advance its Mission.
  • Directing the university planning, policy-making, and outcomes assessment processes.
  • Leading prudent, fiscal planning to ensure efficiency and growth of the university enterprise.
  • Recruiting, supervising, and evaluating senior leaders within the university.
  • Building an effective fundraising network to develop and maintain campus revenue.
  • Promoting and marketing the university within the national, regional, and international spheres including establishing partnerships to respond to the university’s growing education and research needs.
  • Maintaining and improving the quality of education, its standards, and achievement of its reputation through ranking and accreditation on the national, regional, and international levels
Dr. David A. Schmidt

Dr. David A. Schmidt

President

K 366

+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).

Dr. David A. Schmidt
President
Department of Humanities & Social Sciences
david.schmidt@aurak.ac.ae
K 366
+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).

1-Provost

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.

Prof. Stephen Wilhite
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success / Provost / Professor - Psychology
Department of Humanities & Social Sciences
stephen.wilhite@aurak.ac.ae
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.

1-VP

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.

Mr. Basheer Daoud
Vice President – Operational Excellence and Financial Management
vpadminoffice@aurak.ac.ae
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.

3-Twafiq

Mr. Tawfiq Abu Hantash

Associate Professor of Architecture Design, History and Theory. Advisor to the President for Campus Development

K – 364

+971 7 246 8704

Cofounder and principal designer at GDAR (Group for Design and Architectural Research) which was established in Amman on 1991 and has offices in Palestine, UAE and Morocco. Tawfiq holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from MIT 1989 and a BS from the University of Jordan1983.

Mr. Tawfiq Abu Hantash
Associate Professor of Architecture Design, History and Theory. Advisor to the President for Campus Development
Department of Architecture
tawfiq.abuhantash@aurak.ac.ae
K – 364
+971 7 246 8704

Cofounder and principal designer at GDAR (Group for Design and Architectural Research) which was established in Amman on 1991 and has offices in Palestine, UAE and Morocco. Tawfiq holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from MIT 1989 and a BS from the University of Jordan1983.

1-Amanda

Ms. Amanda Forte

Chief Strategy and Excellence Officer

H - 2nd Flr.

+971 7 246 8818

Ms. Amanda Forte
Chief Strategy and Excellence Officer
amanda.forte@aurak.ac.ae
H - 2nd Flr.
+971 7 246 8818

1-Rajesh Prema

Mr. Rajesh Prema

Interim Associate Provost for Enrollment Management / Director, Marketing & Communications

D - 1st Flr.

+971 7 246 8806

Mr. Rajesh Prema
Interim Associate Provost for Enrollment Management / Director, Marketing & Communications
rajesh.prema@aurak.ac.ae
D - 1st Flr.
+971 7 246 8806

Divisions

Office of the President

Office of Institutional Strategy and Excellence

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AURAK joins handful of world’s universities with ‘QS 5 Stars Plus’ rating

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Last Updated: 30 Aug 2023

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