American University of Paris

The American University of Paris (AUP) is a private, independent, and accredited liberal arts university in Paris, France. Founded in 1962, the university is one of the oldest American institutions of higher education in Europe, and the first to be established in France.[4] The university campus consists of seven buildings, centrally located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, on the Left Bank near the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, and the Seine.[3]

The university's language of instruction is English, although students must prove a level of proficiency in French prior to graduation.[5] The university has over 1,100 students, representing over 100 nationalities, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of thirteen to one. The university's faculty members represent 21 nationalities, with 71% holding doctoral degrees and close to 70% speaking three or more languages.[2]

The university sponsors more than 200 lectures and seminars every year. Past lecturers at AUP have included David Lynch, Martha Nussbaum, Jane Goodall, J. M. Coetzee, National Geographic photojournalist Reza, Calvin Klein, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Additionally, the university has hosted numerous international conferences, inviting an aggregate of over a thousand scholars, including Gary Becker, Nobel Prize-recipient of Economics in 1992; Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, former President of France; and Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France.[6] The Paris Centennial Conference, held in May 2019, was the largest ever conference to be hosted by AUP. Speakers included Adam Tooze from Columbia University and Margaret MacMillan from the University of Oxford.[7]

The university has been awarding honorary degrees since 1984. Amongst the recipients are scholars, writers, artists, political figures, and researchers, including Gene Kelly, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Caron, Robert Wilson, Pierre Salinger, Jessye Norman, I.M. Pei, William Styron, Simon Weisenthal, Pamela Harriman, Simone Veil, Sargent Shriver, James Ivory, Bernard Kouchner, Michel Rocard, Christine Lagarde, Christiane Amanpour, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Tzvetan Todorov, Muriel Spark, Mavis Gallant, J.M. Coetzee, Eugene Lang, Paul Muldoon, Jane Goodall, Archie Shepp, David McCullough, Louise Arbour, Margaret MacMillan, R. Nicolas Burns, and Martha Nussbaum.[8]

Founded by Dr. Lloyd DeLamater, a then 40-year-old US Foreign Service officer, in 1962 as the American College in Paris (ACP), the university was renamed 26 years later as The American University of Paris (AUP).[9]

ACP was initially a two-year junior college located in the American Church in Paris. Its inaugural class consisted of 100 students, many of whom were children of American service members and expatriates living in France and Europe. Fifteen part-time professors taught courses in Economics, English, Fine Arts, Government History, French, German, Spanish, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Sociology. In 1964, the first 40 students received their diplomas for two years of study, going on to complete their degree in the United States.[10][11]

Another key aspect of the university’s curriculum was its Cultural Program, originally set up by Marie DeLamater, Lloyd DeLamater’s wife, and Walter J. Brennan, the first Director of the Cultural Program. The program aimed to provide students with the opportunity to visit museums, monuments, and other cities in order to contextualize theory learned in class.[12] The Cultural Program Office is still organising study trips at AUP today.[13]

ACP's student body changed with time, in part due to the decrease of US military presence in Europe. Thirteen years after its founding, over half of the student body was non-American. In 1978, ACP became an accredited four-year, degree-granting college, which was followed by the change of its name to The American University of Paris in 1988.[9] In the year 2006, the University expanded its course offerings to include master’s courses.[14] Most recently, the University has consolidated its campus, acquiring several new buildings in the seventh arrondissement: the largest of which is the Quai d’Orsay Learning Commons, on the same street as the American Church in which the University began.[15]

The American University of Paris is accredited in the United States by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The American University of Paris is a non-profit educational institution incorporated in the state of Delaware and licensed by the State Board of Education as a Delaware institution of higher education. The American University of Paris is registered in the United States as a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

The university confers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, and Master of Science degrees accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The institution is authorized to offer bachelor's and master's degrees through the State of Delaware.

The American University of Paris is declared to the Rectorat de Paris as an établissement privé d'enseignement supérieur libre, and has maintained this right to ouverture since 1964. Like other officially US-accredited diplomas, AUP's bachelor's degrees are recognized as an equivalent to the French Licence (BAC+3). This allows AUP students to apply for graduate studies within the French higher education system following the completion of their undergraduate degree.

AUP degrees are also separately recognized by the Ministries of Higher Education in Norway, and Turkey.[16]

All undergraduate students must complete the Global Liberal Arts Core Curriculum (GLACC) requirements as part of the curriculum at AUP. The requirements include the demonstration of knowledge in Science, English, French, Mathematics, and the completion of FirstBridge, an interdisciplinary first-year course. The GLACC also includes an experiential learning component, and a Capstone project.[17]

The university offers 27 majors and 34 minors in its undergraduate program, along with courses covering a variety of other subjects, including Art History, Fine Arts, Environmental Science, Gender Studies, Mathematics and Computer Science, and various languages, including French, Latin, and Ancient Greek.[18]

The university also offers students the possibility of designing their own major, referred to as the Self-Designed Major.[20]

The American University of Paris awards more than 4 million euros in financial assistance every year. The university offers several types of merit-based scholarships, including one specifically for students who have obtained the International Baccalaureate diploma. Based on their final score, students can receive a reduction ranging from 36% to 75% of tuition. The university also offers university-funded financial aid, which is both need- and merit-based. Scholarships are awarded automatically while students wanting to receive financial aid need to apply for it separately. Total financial assistance ranges from 25% to 50%. A limited number of awards are as high as 75% of tuition. The university is also a Title IV school, which qualifies it to certify U.S. federal loans to American citizens and permanent residents.[22]

Undergraduate students are encouraged to take part in the Global Professional Skills (GPS) Program, which launched in spring 2017. The aim of GPS is to improve career-focused skills and help students develop a personal narrative that will benefit them after graduation. Running throughout a student’s entire time at AUP, the program ends with an opportunity to present a personal narrative to a panel of alumni, employers, and faculty. The winning submission receives an award at graduation.[23]

In addition, the GPS Program brings together students’ co-curricular achievements on a personal co-curricular record (CCR). Students’ activities are registered from semester to semester through attendance tracking, synced through AUP’s student-facing online campus activity platform (AUP Engage). Students who complete GPS Program requirements will also earn a GPS Certificate and a mention of GPS achievement is added to their official AUP academic transcript.[24]

The GPS program is structured around AUP’s faculty-defined four core capabilities:[25]

The GPS Program consists of the following three program requirements plus a fourth optional Panel Presentation.[26]

The Cultural Program provides students with the opportunity to participate in cultural excursions, faculty-led study trips, and other activities. They range from one-day trips to month-long excursions to a variety of destinations across the globe including London, Iceland, Rome, Fez and Auroville, India.[27] The Coup de Pouce fund gives students the possibility to apply for financial assistance for faculty-led study trips.[28]

The university is located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, on the left bank and in close proximity to the Eiffel Tower, the Seine River and the Invalides. Its urban campus consists of seven buildings.[3]

In 2014, the university began a campus renovation plan to renovate every university building. The Combes building was renovated in 2014 and became the Combes Student Life Center, housing the university's own AMEX Café, student clubs, student government, the Thamer Salman Media Center, and the Joy and Edward Frieman Environmental Science Center, as well as art studios, faculty offices, classrooms and the AUP Fine Arts Gallery.[29] The gallery, founded in 2003 by Professor Emeritus Ralph Petty, has welcomed over 120 exhibitions to date and is today curated by Jonathan Shimony, a Professor of Fine Arts.[30]

In the summer of 2015, the university's administration moved into a renovated building on Boulevard de La Tour-Maubourg.[29] In 2019, the university finished renovations on a newly acquired building, which is now known as the Quai d'Orsay Learning Commons. The building consists of 2000 square meters over ten floors. It houses the AUP Library, Academic Resource Center, and an integrated center for academic, career and experiential advising. It connects to the Combes Student Life Center via a glass atrium. The two buildings together form the Student Life and Learning Commons, which between them centralize all student services in a single building complex.[15] A final renovation of a building on the rue de Monttessuy to create a center for the arts is planned for 2020.[29]

The university library, open to the AUP community, is located in the Quai d'Orsay Learning Commons. The library offers students over 41,000 books, more than 545,000 electronic books, 2,900 DVDs and videos and additional access to other libraries around Paris. The university library also provides online resources including e-books, e-encyclopedias, e-journals, and full text databases. Group study rooms and reading areas, wireless Internet access, electrical outlets for laptops, and flat screens are available. The library's staff assists with research and provides information concerning additional resources in Paris.[31]

Athletics has a long tradition at AUP. The first sports team was founded only one year after the university's creation in 1962. Over the next decades, several other sports teams were introduced, some of which are still active at AUP today, including volleyball and equestrian sports.[4]

After the re-establishment of a small sports activities program in Fall 2008, today's Athletics Program participates regularly in Regional University Championships (CRSU) with various teams.[32] Students can go to tryouts and integrate competitive teams, but also have the possibility to engage in recreational activities.[33]

Due to its collaboration with local sports clubs and fitness companies, AUP students benefit from preferential deals for gym memberships. The Athletics Office also supports students in launching their own sports team/club at the university.[34]

The AUP Athletics Office also organizes charity events, to which student athletes contribute.[32]

The university hosts 1,115 students with over 100 nationalities represented on campus.

Students have the opportunity to learn and meet other students through clubs and organizations, including AUP for Consent, AUP Oslo Pax Club, Migrant Justice Club, the Debate and Politics Club, AUP Cares (philanthropic club), AUP Green (environmental club), the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Graduate Student Council (GSC).[35]

Students also manage student-run media production for print, digital and broadcast media. They produce the Peacock Magazine, write articles for The Plume, a news student-run news website, and film videos for Peacock TV, the university's own student-run video production club. The AUP Radio Club also organizes a daily radio show.[36] The university supports student media through three media workshops that allow students to get involved in production teams, overseen by faculty and staff.[37]

Students live in the city of Paris. In 2013, the university partnered with Comforts of Home – now BlueStripe Paris – to provide all students with furnished, Internet-equipped, shared housing options in two- to three-bedroom apartments. All incoming first-year, transfer, and visiting students are required to arrange their housing through the university, either in a shared student apartment, or in a home stay. Graduate students or returning undergraduate students have the option of searching for an independent apartment with the assistance of the Office of Residential Life.[38]

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) was created to link technology to the curriculum and to supplement academic support services at the university. Located in the Quai d’Orsay Learning Commons, ARC provides multiple services to students, including library research stations and video production equipment, peer tutoring services, and a writing lab.[39]

The university has over 20,000 alumni who work and live in 145 countries.[40] A study of more recent graduates indicates that 93% are employed or pursue graduate studies within one year of graduation. The majority of alumni report that AUP was helpful in their career paths. Half of alumni reported that they were pursuing graduate or professional studies three years out. Nine out of ten alumni are fluent in two or more languages, and 87% say that their careers have an international element. More than half also having worked in a country not native to them.[41]