American University in Dubai appoints New President

He joins the university from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), where he served since 2011 as Vice President of International Affairs and Professor of Global Studies and Human Geography. In these roles, he was responsible for the leadership of the university’s international and global programs, as well as oversight of the university’s international student recruitment, enrollment, and retention initiatives.

Schmidt also oversaw the MTSU Office of Education Abroad, Office of International Admissions, Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Confucius Institute, Middle East Center and South East Asian Center.

“It is my honor to accept the role of President of the American University in Dubai and I look forward to becoming a part of the diverse academic community of students, faculty and alumni, who proudly call AUD their home,” Dr. Schmidt said. “I look forward to working to guide AUD as it builds on its history and looks to serve Dubai and the region as a leader in providing education that prepares students for a world of new opportunities and challenges.”

Dr. Schmidt was selected to serve as President after a year-long global search spearheaded by a search committee of faculty administration and board members, who worked together to determine the best candidate for the position.

“We welcome David to AUD and look forward to his leadership, vision and energy as he engages the university community to build AUD’s future,” said Justin G. Cooper, Chairman of the Governing Board of the American University in Dubai.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Schmidt served as Executive Director of the Bechtel International Center at University of the Pacific, Director of the University of Wisconsin Institute for Global Studies, as well as the Founding Fellowships Coordinator at the Yale University Center for International and Area Studies, and Director of International Programs at William Woods University.

His academic background is extensive, having earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University, a M.A. in Japanese from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.   He has also completed Harvard Institute of Higher Education’s Management and Leadership in Education Program, and has received numerous awards and fellowships for excellence in education and scholarship.

Dr. Schmidt will undoubtedly bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the institution, which strives to develop critical thinking, effective communication and lifelong learning skills. As a student-centric university, Dr. Schmidt will work to empower and guide students to lasting academic and professional success, provide academic programs, services, facilities, and technologies that offer diverse opportunities for learning; and foster intercultural understanding as a basis for preparing students to be members of a global community.

The appointment comes as AUD has also recently launched an array of projects in Dubai including its participation in The ‘National Innovation Strategy’ inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, to sustain the UAE’s leading position in the region and realize its ambition of becoming one of the most innovative nations in the world.

AUD was selected by the PMO’s office as one of two UAE universities to launch the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (ACEI). The ACEI’s aim is to develop a vibrant platform where interdisciplinary entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers can share their knowledge and move their entrepreneurial and innovative ideas from concept to implementation. The center will also serve as an umbrella under which innovative ideas formulated by students, and supported by faculty, are developed.

Another unique global campaign, the ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’, was launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to ensure that 25 per cent of buildings in Dubai are based on 3D printing technology by 2030.

AUD has led in the academic ecosystem on modernizing its academic offerings and building student industry experience by partnering with 3D Vinci creations, to build on campus the first 3D Concrete Printing and Digital Construction Research Center to house a state-of-the-art 3D concrete printer for conducting research and development. Its aim is to become a local center for research on 3D concrete printing and digital construction, attracting a consortium of academic, industry, and government entities who are interested in the development and implementation of innovative processes, products, materials, and business models in the rapidly-growing 3D concrete printing and digital construction industry.


About AUD:

Today, the American University in Dubai (AUD) is a fully independent, vibrant institution which serves as a point of reference for higher education within the Gulf Region and greater Middle East.

It currently educates more than 2,000 students of almost 100 nationalities, and remains the first and only institution outside of the U.S. and Latin America to receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The Mission of the American University in Dubai is to serve as a culturally diverse learning community committed to the pursuit of knowledge through excellence in teaching and scholarly and creative endeavor, leading to students’ academic, personal and professional success, as well as the advancement of society.

Currently the only UAE university on the Times Higher Education employability top 150 university worldwide, AUD boasts one of the highest regional graduate employability thanks to the progressive teaching and industry engagement in the classrooms.

For more information, please contact Souha Charbel, Associate Director of Communications on 

© Press Release 2019

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