American University of Sharjah (AUS) has taken a new initiative to enhance and centralize its executive education offerings by creating a new Office of Executive Education and Professional Development (OEPE). The new office will fall under the Office of the Chancellor.
AUS Chancellor Dr. Björn Kjerfve has announced that Dr. Ilias Visvikis has been appointed Director of OEPE, as well as Professor of Finance in the AUS School of Business Administration.
Dr. Ilias Visvikis has several years of international experience designing and managing executive education portfolios and professional development short courses, as well as structured programs, including graduate diplomas, master’s degrees and MBAs, delivered around the world, in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
The announcement comes as demand for executive education in the Gulf increases steadily, with employees and employers both recognizing the value continuing education brings. Dr. Visvikis says:
“What we are seeing in the region is a recognition that quality professional education plays a role in individual career development, as well as adding value to an organization as a whole. Business people are becoming more career oriented, and understand that continuing their education beyond their degree is critical to career advancement and increased earning potential. We are also seeing company leaders actively pursuing executive education for members of their workforce identified as talent, as it is an important way of retaining their best staff and ensuring long-term profitability for the business.”
The OEPE will serve as the centralized point of contact across all the AUS colleges. The office will offer custom programs, designed to meet the specific needs of clients. A portfolio of open enrollment courses is also currently under development, drawing on the expertise of the university’s faculty members. The OEPE will be responsible for the design, development and delivery stages of such non-credit, non-degree granting courses and programs.
Dr. Visvikis says:
“AUS is well placed to deliver outstanding executive education, thanks to its long-held reputation as one of the region’s leading universities. AUS is well-known for the quality of both its facilities and its faculty, both of which will ensure participants in our programs are receiving an outstanding level of knowledge, service and support. We are mindful that our programs need to be backed by rigorous academic theory, but also need to be readily applied in the workplace, and lead to measurable improvements in performance.”
Chancellor Kjerfve said of the appointment of Dr. Visvikis:
"We are very excited to have Dr. Visvikis join AUS. He brings with him new views and significant international experience in executive education to help AUS become the partner of choice for the private- and public-sector organizations in the region, training the leaders of tomorrow.”