March 2018

Year in Review: Launching the GPS Program

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As we move quickly towards a new year, we are taking a moment to look back at some of the highlights of 2018 with our series A Year in Review. For our third installment we reached out to Kevin Fore, Dean of Student Development, and asked him to introduce aup’s exciting new global professional skills program.

In the middle of May madness, a small group of students gathered in the Combes building one evening with faculty, staff, friends and family, not to receive their diplomas, but to cross a smaller stage and receive a different sort of certificate. These were the first graduates of our newly formed Global Professional Skills Program. Launched as a pilot in March 2018, the program began with just a select cohort of graduating seniors. By the end of this academic year, all AUP students will be able to participate in the program, but what is it? And why should students sign up for it? Kevin Fore, Dean of Student Development, joined us to explain what this new program means for our student body and the University.

“In a nutshell, this program is designed to help students connect the dots between their academics, their co-curricular experiences and their dreams and ambitions post-AUP,” Fore said. “The program delivers a co-curricular record demonstrating that they are engaged in activities that enhance their grasp of the University’s four core learning objectives.” Namely, our students’ development as independent and creative thinkers, engaged, lifelong learners, responsible actors, and adaptable communicators with a global perspective. “We also work with students,” Fore continued, “to help them develop a compelling narrative, which they want to have ready by their senior year as they prepare for their next steps.”

The program is designed to help students make the most of their time at AUP and of the activities that they are already engaged in, be it clubs, sports, internships or volunteering. As part of the GPS program, students are encouraged says Fore “to explore key questions about who they are and what they want to do with their lives using design thinking techniques. By asking such critical questions early on, students will feel more prepared as they make choices about their future and will develop a stronger sense of who they are and where they are headed.”

The GPS Program got off to a great start in spring 2018, with 35 seniors completing all requirements. Fore is grateful to those first graduates, “we learned a lot from this founding group and have adapted the program this year accordingly.” Fore outlines ambitious plans for the 2018-2019 academic year. “We would like to double the number of seniors who complete the program this year,” Fore said. “At the same time, we are currently working to integrate all GPS requirements and tracking into our new AUP Engage platform that will be launched as early as spring 2019 for current degree-seeking freshmen, sophomores and juniors.”

When asked what he would tell students who wonder if they should take part, Fore didn’t hesitate, “participate!” As a graduate of the GPS program, students receive an official AUP customized co-curricular record that highlights the activities they have been involved in outside of the classroom and a GPS certificate, which includes a mention on their transcript. Additionally, program veterans will have participated in a “Designing Your Narrative Workshop” that helps them to prepare for their next steps after AUP. The program has other perks too, like the chance to win the Presidential Award at graduation and an invitation to join the Board of Trustees for a cocktail alongside family, friends and fellow GPS graduates.

To find out more about the GPS program, visit the dedicated section on the website or reach out to the student development team at And stay tuned for more information about the new AUP Engage platform set to launch in spring 2019!