Since inception in 2007, ADA University Foundation USA has played a crucial role in growth and development of ADA into a world-class university in Azerbaijan. Our efforts have covered an extensive area: human capacity enhancement, leadership alignment, feasibility studies, technical assistance, internationalization of ADA, scholarships for graduate and PhD studies, joint degree programs, certificate studies, endowment building etc. This page outlines some of our key initiatives.
Michigan State University
The Foundation initiated and funded a three-year partnership agreement with the Graduate School of Education at the Michigan State University. MSU assisted ADA in design and launch of our School of Education.
Together, we came up with a feasibility study, designed all aspects of the School, developed graduate programs, their specializations and curricula. MSU participated not only in design and launch of the School. It also continued the collaboration through the post-launch phase to ensure the quality of education. As part of this partnership, ADA School of Education launched the first-ever Master of Education Management in Azerbaijan. Some of the courses were taught by visiting faculty from MSU Graduate School of Education.
George Washington University
By the end of 2019, The Foundation initiated and helped sign a five-year partnership agreement between The School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) of George Washington University and School of IT and Engineering (SITE) of ADA University.
Through 2024, we will be engaged in a comprehensive academic collaboration. Together with SEAS, we will co-create graduate and undergraduate programs which will be taught both in Baku and Washington DC; assist SITE in its aspirations to develop core faculty, while also diversifying its mix of faculty; enroll potential candidates from Azerbaijan to pursue PhD studies in GW; increase the capacity of administrators, faculty and students at ADA; organize joint academic and scientific activities, such as courses, conferences, seminars, symposia or lectures; exchange research and teaching personnel; exchange publications and other materials of common interest and so on.
For 5 years, ADA University Foundation USA will be in forefront of this most comprehensive and strategic collaboration which will help Azerbaijan in its aspirations to lift up the capacity in applied science and engineering.
The First-Ever Digital University in Azerbaijan
In April 2019, Galib Mammad of ADA University Foundation presented a case of change management at Ellucian Live in New Orleans. More than 8,000 university administrators from all over the world were in that conference. Majority of them had not even heard of Azerbaijan. Yet, we had come to this major international gathering of higher education to present ADA University as a success story. Not only in Azerbaijan, but globally.
ADA University required to integrate all policies, processes, programs and initiatives into one system for data-driven decision-making. We identified Ellucian’s Banner XE for student life cycle and enterprise resource planning, Blackboard for learning management and OCLC WMS for library management. The comprehensive review and change of both academic and business processes was fundamental to this transformational endeavor.
In a matter of two years, we changed all systems, successfully implemented and fully integrated Banner, Blackboard and OCLC WMS. All on Cloud. Most importantly, we developed some 30 staff and managers into highly competent higher education administrators at ADA University. When the global pandemic hit Azerbaijan, it took ADA University a week to shift teaching, learning and operations online without any interruption.
ADA University Foundation USA has initiated and managed this transformational change at ADA University. We involved faculty and administrators from major schools, such as William and Mary, Old Dominion University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, American University etc in planning and implementation. Highly competent higher education experts, who had worked in positions of provost, registrar, budget, finance, human resources, accreditation, learning management helped their counterparts at ADA University in their efforts of institution building.
ADA University has received Ellucian Innovation Award and Blackboard Catalyst Award for its success in digital transformation, people development and change management. Since then, The Foundation has been managing partnership agreements both with Ellucian and Blackboard.
Over years, we have built not only the world-class university in Azerbaijan, but also the first-ever digital university in that country.
ADA 2025: Ten-Year Strategic Plan
During the first ten years since inception, ADA University has received generous support of the Government of Azerbaijan in the form of significant capital investment for building a world-class campus. This support has also ensured ADA’s continuous promise to quality. The University’s goal is to ultimately become self-sufficient. In 2015, we teamed up with one of the world’s leading consulting firms, McKinsey and Co, in order to develop a roadmap that would lead the university to its vision of becoming a world-class university in Azerbaijan. The outcome of this effort was “ADA 2025: 10-year strategic plan” that puts forward nine strategic objectives to better accomplish our mission and vision. The Foundation initiated and managed the development of the strategic plan. Since then, we have also helped ADA to implement some of the key initiatives of the Strategic Plan in the United States.
Human Capacity Enhancement
For years, The Foundation has been assisting ADA University in its efforts of human capacity enhancement. We have designed and implemented professional development programs, where ADA administrators visit to spend several weeks or even months at ADA International. While in Washington DC, they live downstairs in our guest apartment.
We have partnered with Georgetown University, American University and George Washington University, where our administrators shadow their counterparts in key functional areas, such as HR, Finance, IT, Admission, Registrar, Marketing, Development, Executive Education, etc. Such a collaboration has allowed a significant number of Azerbaijanis to get exposed to the best case practices in higher education administration, share experiences and develop professionally. Some of them have also taken continuing education courses at USDA and Georgetown University to further develop themselves. ⠀
Leadership development has been a strategic initiative of ADA University. The Foundation has made a significant investment to support this initiative of the university. Once or twice a year, we have organized a week-long retreat of ADA University Vice Rectors and Deans in our building in Dupont Circle. At times, key department heads have joined these gatherings.
We have attracted Provosts, Deans, Department Heads, Full Professors, Accreditation experts to workshops with ADA executive leadership. Together, they have tackled challenges of establishing a world-class university from scratch. While in DC, ADA executives have stayed in our guest house and shared many memorable experiences together. These programs have helped the university's leadership development initiatives enormously.
Recruitment of Faculty and Key Administrators
Diversity has been a key strength of ADA University. Over years, we have partnered with major headhunting firms in the US and recruited key executives for positions of dean, director of library, vice rector and provost at ADA University. The Foundation has also helped ADA to recruit numerous Azerbaijani and international faculty in the United States. They have served in Baku for several years and made their impact on the success of ADA University.
Scholarships for Azerbaijanis
Together with ADA University, we have awarded multiple scholarships for ADA staff and faculty to pursue their graduate and PhD studies in the US and UK. They have completed their studies, earned their MA and PhD, and returned to Baku to continue working and teaching at ADA University.
Majority of our scholarship recipients have studied at Michigan State University and George Washington University. Mostly thanks to our comprehensive academic collaboration with these universities.
Vision 5-25-5 is a new strategic initiative of ADA University, which will be implemented together with ADA International in the United States. This initiative is in line with ADA’s Vision of achieving the excellence of “müəllim and alim”, i.e a teacher and a scholar.
Each year, we will invest in development of 25 new Müəllim and 5 new Alim. The program will run over 5 years, through 2025. Hence, the abbreviation: over 5 years, and each year, 25 new Müəllim and 5 new Alim.
Faculty will be exposed to the most innovative practices in educational leadership and teaching excellence. They will enroll in our Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning (MATL) program, which will also enhance their competence in virtual teaching and learning. As part of MATL, our faculty will have a chance to study 3 semesters in Baku, Azerbaijan and one semester in ADA International in Washington DC, USA.
The course content in Washington DC is enhanced by field trips to nearby universities, where our faculty learn of the best-case practices. Biweekly round-table discussions allow Azerbaijani faculty to discuss challenges and opportunities in education with their American peers. The program is also a unique opportunity for our faculty to build a professional network in the United States.
Each year, we will also facilitate and sponsor the enrollment of 5 Azerbaijanis in PhD studies at George Washington University and other programs in the US. While studying in PhD programs, they will also teach at ADA International in Washington DC.
The outcome of Vision 5-25-5 is to cultivate some 150 new teaching staff and researchers at ADA University by 2025. This ambitious goal will allow ADA to expand its program portfolio and increase student enrollment, while also achieving the excellence of Müəllim and Alim in educational leadership, teaching and research output.
PhD Development and Support Program
One of the first and most successful initiatives of the Foundation has been PhD Development and Support Program (PDSP). We have identified Azerbaijanis pursuing their PhD studies in the US, built their network, flew them from across the United States to participate in our workshops, engaged them in academic discussions and interested them in collaboration with ADA University.
Workshops were held both in Washington DC and Baku. We would also award these Azerbaijani academicians with a grant to support their research efforts.
Through such efforts, we have managed to recruit some of our highly competent faculty. Top talented Azerbaijanis have moved back to Baku to teach at ADA University. Throughout these years, they have played a signifcant role in building ADA's reputation as a destination for teaching excellence.
Our share of success has been simple, yet worthy of trying: at ADA University Foundation USA, we have managed to reverse brain drain. A significant number of Azerbaijanis have returned to their country to serve a public cause of teaching and educating a new generation of their citizenry.
The development of applied science, technology and engineering has become a strategic priority of ADA University. Post Covid-19, ADA University Foundation USA will resume its PhD Development and Support Program with a new focus. By building a strong network of Azerbaijani and American academicians in areas of applied science, technology and engineering, we will further support programmatic expansion and faculty development efforts of ADA University.