August, 30 2023

American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) appoints experienced academic leader Dr. David A. Schmidt as new President

Dr. Schmidt brings to the post 33 years of leadership expertise spanning public and private academic institutions worldwide


Dr. Schmidt brings to the post 33 years of leadership expertise spanning public and private academic institutions worldwide

American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), one of the leading universities in the UAE, has appointed Dr. David A. Schmidt as its new 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 institutions – public, private, and international, including the University of Wisconsin System.

Prior to joining AURAK, Dr. Schmidt served as the President of the American University in Dubai (AUD), where he led the university through the COVID pandemic, successfully directed the university’s SACSCOC re-accreditation, and initiated new enrolment strategies that resulted in enrolment growth.

“It is an exciting and challenging time to join AURAK when the higher education landscape is going through a disruptive phase,” said Dr. David A. Schmidt. “I will strive to leverage my expertise in administrative leadership to provide the right direction to a young university that has accomplished so much in such a short span of time. I feel there is a need to adopt an engaged and collaborative approach that fosters clarity and reciprocal accountability. Today’s altered landscape of higher education demands a new approach, and I am confident my extensive experience, along with the amazing faculty and staff of AURAK, will help the university achieve the goals it has set.”

Dr. Schmidt regards himself as a “global nomad,” having had the privilege of working or studying at 16 different universities in 15 cities across five countries. This unique multicultural, global background has served him well in his role as a forward-thinking leader who inspires students, faculty, and staff to embrace opportunities for international learning and collaboration.

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. After serving as the founding coordinator of the Fox Fellowship Program at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, he led the University of Wisconsin System’s Institute for Global Studies, where he created a framework that emphasizes the importance of international education to maximizing the benefits of the state’s social, economic, and cultural progress. He also led the transformation of several campuses, ensuring that international education and experience are integral parts of the institution’s mission and curriculum.

He has written extensively on post-WWII issues regarding women’s rights and education in Japan and South Korea. A recipient of the Association of International Administrators (AIEA) Presidential Fellowship, the Korea Foundation Research Fellowship and the Mombushō Fellowship, he also participated as a fellow in Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management (IEM).

Dr. Schmidt succeeds Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim, who retires after more than a decade of distinguished service as AURAK President.

AURAK is an independent university, committed to advancing knowledge through cutting-edge research, innovative teaching, and community engagement. Its extensive campus in the picturesque Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah boasts state-of-the-art facilities and a world-class faculty, delivering an integrated American-style education that prepares students for success in today’s global economy.

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