Al Akhawayn Students and Faculty Start Fall Semester; New University Facilities Take Shape
Ifrane, September 2, 2011 – On the first day of classes, 21 new faculty members from 9 different countries joined 259 new students in opening the Fall 2011 semester at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. As registrations continue, final enrollment is expected to exceed 260 new students, bringing the total size of the University’s student body to over 1,700.
Of the new students enrolling this fall, 234 are undergraduates and 25 are graduates pursuing master’s degrees in nearly a dozen different fields. Over100 international students are also on campus this fall, the vast majority of them on exchange from many leading American colleges and universities.
All in all, the new student population represents approximately 24 percent of the over 1,100 candidates who applied for Fall admission to Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.
“The enrollment figures are very strong, and show how competitive admissions is at Al Akhawayn University. The high demand for an Al Akhawayn degree also affirms our conviction that we can achieve the strategic goal of 2,000 world-class students by 2015,” said University Vice President for Student Affairs Cherif Bel Fekih.
The 21 new faculty members joining the University also demonstrate the University’s commitment to providing appropriate academic resources for a growing student body. In addition, the size and breadth of the new faculty cohort underscores the international appeal of teaching at the University and living in Ifrane.
Faculty from the United States, Morocco, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and France are new this semester, teaching in the Schools of Business Administration, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, the Language Center, the Center for Academic Development, and at the K-12 Al Akhawayn University School of Ifrane.
Investments in Infrastructure, New Housing Options
To accommodate its growing student and faculty population, Al Akhawayn University is investing heavily in facilities and infrastructure. In June 2011, members of the University Board of Trustees attended a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site of a new 10,000 square meter residence hall (dubbed “Building 39”). Construction has continued at a rapid pace over the summer, and visitors can now see the skeleton of the new structure across from Building 38 on the eastern side of campus, overlooking Lake Zerruqa and the road to Fez.
When it opens in Fall 2013, Building 39 will have 280 beds in 151 rooms, with 109 doubles, 22 singles, 20 studios, 3 kitchens, and several common areas. “The new residence will also be accessible and friendly to the physically challenged, with specially equipped rooms and ramps to facilitate access,” noted Vice President Bel Fekih.
Other new infrastructure projects include the recently completed conversion of the entire below-ground level of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Building 8) into climate-controlled, secure, archival and storage space. And over the summer, University leadership reached the final stages of planning a new academic building, which will house state-of-the-art classrooms, faculty offices, meeting rooms, computer and multimedia labs, an amphitheater, plus common areas and an atrium.
Along with new construction on the main campus, the University continues to pursue its strategic goal of integrating into the Ifrane community. While many students, faculty, and staff already live in and around town outside the central campus, this fall more will join them as over 30 Al Akhawayn students will live in 2-, 4-, and 6-person apartments at the new Al Arz Village in Ifrane.
Built by the Moroccan-Kuwaiti company CMKD, managed by the American chain Best Western, and known commercially as the Farah Inn and Resort, Al Arz is the newest major player in Ifrane’s commercial and residential life and is working closely with Al Akhawayn to provide resources for University students, faculty, and staff.
“It is a spectacularly comfortable place and a logical extension of the University’s residential offerings in Ifrane,” commented Bel Fekih.
“The apartments are new, spacious, and well-furnished, with living rooms and kitchens, and there are indoor heated and outdoor swimming pools, various restaurants, and recreation facilities.”
Bel Fekih also said that “the University is providing free shuttle bus service between Al Akhawayn and Al Arz. Considering all its amenities and the opportunity to live close by in Ifrane but away from campus, the prices we’ve negotiated are also extremely attractive."
By early 2012 Al Arz is expected to complete construction of Ifrane's newest discotheque, and the region's first 4-screen movie theater.
Students interested in exploring off-campus living options should contact the Al Akhawayn University Housing Office.