AUIB’s College of Education and Human Development welcomes first students

College students standing with university faculty

The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the American University of Iraq—Baghdad welcomed its first cohort of students in January for the start of the spring semester. Eighteen students are enrolled in the Teaching Learning and Design (TLD) Program.

In 2022, Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development and AUIB were awarded a two-year, $2.5 million grant from the U.S. State Department to design and launch a new college focused on teacher training and development.

Dean Allison Webster-Giddings and Assistant Professor Pallu Reddy with AUIB students.

Incoming students took part in AUIB’s first-year students’ orientation, as well as academic and co-curricular activities in the first week of the semester. Throughout their first year, students will participate in workshop series led by CEHD faculty and administrators to build community and gain skills needed to navigate the university learning environment.

“We embarked upon this semester with a joyful and purposeful spirit, characterized by the presence of exceptional students who all have unique and challenging stories, yet they continue to be hopeful and courageous in their educational journeys,” said Allison Webster-Giddings, dean of CEHD. “Amidst our shared obligations to guide and support them, AUIB’s CEHD along with Vanderbilt’s Peabody College are committed to creating an innovative, culturally relevant curriculum to support these students as they envision their future and impact for their selves, country, region, and the world.”

Dean Allison Webster-Giddings with AUIB student

The college offered two courses in teaching and learning design to all students from across AUIB in the spring semester. In the first course, Introduction to AUIB Education Design and Studies, students are introduced to the academic engagement and the values, challenges, and expectations of becoming a professional educator. Additionally, the course seeks to demystify the learning process. In the other course, Foundations of Learning and Design, students investigate learning processes in different contexts and develop a fundamental understanding of the principles for designing optimal learning environments.

“Personally, I find so much joy and fulfillment seeing our CEHD students on campus pursuing their dreams through higher education. They exceed all expectations, embodying qualities of kindness, curiosity, compassion, and a commitment to creating educational opportunities for those who need them the most,” said Pallu Reddy, assistant professor, who teaches the two spring courses. “Their resilience and determination inspire me daily and remind me of the transformative power of education.”

Assistant Professor Pallu Reddy in class with students

To enrich students’ global connections, AUIB and Vanderbilt students are engaged in a six-part series of virtual student exchanges. The series seeks to build mutual respect, challenge perspectives, and cultivate collaborations between Vanderbilt and AUIB students, equipping them with the skills to navigate and thrive in an interconnected world while enhancing their academic journey. Sessions have included The U.S. University Experience: Academic and Social Life, Know Yourself to Know Others: Cross-cultural Humility, and Creating Engaging Spaces: Sharing the American University Experience from a Local and International Perspective.  In the March session, Experience Vanderbilt and AUIB, students from each university will discuss the mission and impact of their clubs and organizations, how they began, and how they strive to be inclusive.

Representatives from Peabody College plan to visit AUIB in April to continue supporting the launch of CEHD. This trip will mark the third Peabody visit to AUIB.