In 1970, Americans Jack and Helen Barnette founded American InterContinental University (AIU) in Lucerne, Switzerland. By 1976, the school opened up a second campus in Atlanta, Georgia, and relocated the Lucerne campus to London. From the beginning, AIU was thinking outside the box, focusing its curriculum on what would prepare students for viable careers rather than taking a more traditional, theoretical approach. In 2001, AIU Online was launched, allowing students to study from anywhere at any time. The for-profit international school started with 300 students and has since blossomed into a large student body that includes more than 20,000 individuals from all over the globe.
AIU offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in: information technology, communication, business, finance, criminal justice, accounting, design, education, and healthcare management. Unlike most online colleges, though, AIU specifically structures its programs to reflect the needs of today’s job market. It achieves this by employing coursework designed to hone the skills that will come into play within the workforce, such as Excel, PowerPoint, interpersonal communication, and practical mathematical skills. By focusing on results rather than theories, AIU prepares students for the working world.
Although AIU boasts campuses in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, South Florida, and London, about 80% of its students are enrolled in the online program. Whereas many of today’s colleges offer online components as an alternative option for working students, AIU actually treats its online school as its own separate campus. A year after its initial launch, AIU Online became the main campus, resulting in a team of administrators and offices in the suburbs of Chicago.
American Intercontinental University is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of the six most trusted regional accrediting agencies in the nation. The university has maintained this accreditation since 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Not surprisingly, AIU Online has proven to be a dynamic tool for learning and a driving force for promoting academic relationships among students and professors. As further testament to the quality of AIU’s Virtual Campus, Computerworld Honors Program named it “Best of the Best” in the Education and Academia category in 2009, for outstanding implementation of technology to stimulate student learning and interaction.
American InterContinental University lives up to its name, thanks to a wildly diverse crop of students that includes students from every corner of the globe. Programs such as the American InterContinental University Alumni Association, which has 75,000 alumni members from around the world, and the Alumni Volunteer Mentor Program encourage student and alumni interaction, even after students have graduated from the school.
AIU has a study abroad program as well, a unique opportunity for an online university. Students can opt to study in London or Paris, giving them the opportunity to mix their online education with cultural exploration and learning. Utilizing a blend of online and physical classroom interaction, the study abroad program emphasizes the sharing of culture and knowledge among peers.
The school is also a favorite among military personnel who may be stationed around the world or simply looking to delve back into the civilian workforce. It placed No. 91 on Military Times Edge magazine’s list of Best Colleges for Vets, a huge feat considering that as many as 4,000 schools were surveyed. AIU was also named a military-friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2010. The institution’s head of military relations, Richard Kennedy, said the school works hard to provide military vets with the support they need.
“As a veteran myself, I’m personally and professionally honored that AIU has received this distinction for our continuing efforts to serve those who have bravely served our country,” said Kennedy.
The Student Experience
Using sophisticated technology, AIU administers its classes via rich, exquisite online portals. Everything students may need — from lecture notes to reading resources — is at their fingertips 24/7. In addition, the Virtual Campus boasts a monstrous online library comprised of academic journals, reference articles, and more.
What truly makes AIU’s distance education one in a million is its content delivery. The virtual campus is guided by the understanding that no two students share the same learning styles. Some students learn better with visual aids, while others retain information better by listening to lectures. With this in mind, the school leaves it completely up to students to decide which learning style works best for them. AIU’s lessons are available in a variety of customizable formats. Students have the option to watch, view, read, or listen to required course materials. AIU has named this customizable learning experience “My Unique Student Experience” (M.U.S.E.).
Through the AIU Virtual Campus, students have free access to online learning labs, which help sharpen students’ skills in certain areas, such as English, math, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and APA style. Another perk that AIU Online students enjoy is one-on-one tutoring, where AIU faculty provide real-time tutoring sessions on a first-come, first-served basis in subjects such as college algebra, statistics, and English composition.
Teaching at AIU
A college education is one of the few things in life that will have a long-lasting impact on a student’s future. It continues to shape our decisions long after the graduation ceremony. AIU says its faculty members are committed to helping students achieve their personal and professional goals.
It’s important for college students to receive their lessons from knowledgeable professors who are also experienced in their respective fields. While not every educator at every institution fits this bill, AIU boasts a diverse group from various backgrounds.
AIU’s professors have a thorough foundation in their fields, and boast a wide range of relevant experiences. For instance, Dr. Dr. Hossam Banna is a professor of business at AIU, and has senior-level experience in engineering and project management. Every instructor is well-versed in the needs of each particular major subject area.
AIU Graduates in the Real World
With the exception of specialized fields like nursing and engineering, it’s often hard to gauge what kind of jobs graduates will get after graduation. Each degree is unique and has its merits and limitations. While AIU pledges a commitment to real-world preparation, students should take the time to research their degrees and career benefits. AIU grads have gone on to work in business, finance, health care, IT, and the nonprofit sector, to name a few.
Graduates of AIU benefit from a career services department that is committed to providing knowledge, advice, and resources to individuals looking for work after school. Career services help students with job-related planning and career search assistance, as well as giving pointers on how to put together an effective resume and cover letter.
With a large alumni association and efficient career services, AIU remains open to students even after graduation. AIU graduates are never alone.
What are specializations?
AIU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Greg Washington explains specializations and what they mean to students starting their degree programs at AIU.