In Conversation with Carmen Z. Lamagna Vice Chancellor, AIUB
It was one warm afternoon that we sat in the office of Carmen Z Lamagna for a brief tête-à-tête. Now before we go into the details here is a short take on Dr. Lamagna's career and AIUB.
Since 1997, Dr. Lamagna has been the Vice-Chancellor of the American International University in Bangladesh (AIUB), one of the foremost private universities in the country. According to the Bangladesh University Grants Commission, this is one of the top 10 universities in Bangladesh. Under Dr. Lamagna's capable leadership, AIUB was awarded the “Best Business School” in 2004 by the Financial News Service (FNS), an economic news service which conducted a survey on the performance of all universities and financial and industrial organizations in Bangladesh.
Dr. Lamagna's achievements as an educator and manager may be gleaned from the positions she has in prestigious international bodies. She is currently an Executive Committee member of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), a worldwide association of university chief executives with a membership endeavoring to promote quality education everywhere. In September 2005, she was elected as AUAP's First Vice President for 2006 to 2008. AUAP has regular members in 19 countries and territories.
Dr. Lamagna has been instrumental in developing AIUB's image as a world-class educational institution through linkages with the academic community in the Philippines and other countries. In the past, Dr. Lamagna initiated exchange programs with universities such as Angeles University and University of St. Thomas in the Philippines, Siam University in Thailand, and the Australian National University, among others. Dr. Lamagna also initiated the conclusion of an agreement between Microsoft Bangladesh and AIUB, providing training to AIUB teaching staff, as well as Microsoft training and instructional materials.
Dr. Lamagna awarded Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals
Dr. Carmen Z. Lamagna was one of the awardees of the 2006 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas. The award ceremony was held in Malacanan Palace, Manila, Philippines last Dec. 7, 2006 and was conferred by Her Excellency, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the President of the Philippines.
The awards program is intended to give recognition to Filipinos and other individuals or organizations that contribute to Philippine development and progress, or promote the interests of Overseas Filipino communities. The 2006 honorees were selected from 158 nominations from 20 countries.
Here are the excerpts of the interview
Star Campus: How would you evaluate AIUB among other private universities?
Carmen Z: (With a smile), “It is the best!”
But I'd rather you check it out yourself; look around and see what we have and judge for yourself.
SC: Tell us about your students.
CZ: I am here since 1994. We do get many 'leftovers' of the public university but what we do is we mould them so that they become qualified and better persons when they leave. I never let them have too much of leisure hours and that's why I want them to study even during the vacations. Secondly, we give them incentives to do development works in our own campus. Because of such academic discipline they excel in exams and become fit to join the corporate world.
SC: A few words on your future plans?
C Z: I Want to have a building of my own; want more academic programs; have a medical school to offer Bachelor in Nursing, and want to see an accrediting council.
SC: How did you get into the making of AIUB?
Carmen Z: I was the dean of student affairs in my university in the Philippines. After we started AIUB, at one stage I had to go back to my country. But, the president of my university gave me an option of rejoining university in the Philippines or go to Bangladesh and work for AIUB. I thought for a while, and then I took the risk and came here. Since then I have been working hard to see AIUB grow and become a major educational institution. Today, I consider it a blessing from God.
AIUB was a joint venture of the Philippines and Bangladesh.
SC: Tell us about your views on the accreditation process.
CZ: I was invited to the round table meeting of the workshop on quality assurance; the workshop came up with the following suggestion: Accrediting council for assuring quality for both public and private university to be made functional.
(Interview taken by Nazia Ahmed & Shahnoor Wahid)