Graphic by Andrija Klaric/The Gazelle

Student Response to GAF Program Termination

Last week, it was announced on the NYU Abu Dhabi Student Portal that the Global Academic Fellows Program will be terminated for the 2016-2017  academic ...

Nov 14, 2015

Graphic by Andrija Klaric/The Gazelle
Last week, it was announced on the NYU Abu Dhabi Student Portal that the Global Academic Fellows Program will be terminated for the 2016-2017  academic year.
Students’ response to this decision has been varied, ranging from surprise and disappointment to hope for the new program.
Initial reactions expressed on social media were largely ones of shock, due to the role that the GAF program had played in NYUAD and the way in which the news was revealed to students.
Sophomore Melissa Levinson expressed her disappointment at the administration’s handling of the issue.
“It seems like the administration tried to quietly end the program without input from students, those who are ultimately most affected by this change,” she said.
However, some students were reassured by the planned replacement program. Sophomore Aiman Khurram expects an improvement in academic support over the current GAF program, which she does not find to be very effective.
“The changes that have been made seem to be beneficial for us,” said Khurram. “I think the new people hired for this support program would have a lot to offer, as they'll be postgraduate students on a three-year contract, which would definitely make them more invested.”
Freshman Filip Karan expresses similar satisfaction at the higher education level expected of future instructors, expressing his hope that the overall quality of academic help will be improved with the new program.
The newly implemented graduate-level prerequisite has been met with mixed reviews. Levinson expressed doubt at the necessity of hiring people with graduate degrees.
“Honestly, just because you have a higher degree of education in a certain subject doesn’t necessarily mean you are better suited to help students learn this material,” she explained.
Some students worried about the ease of being in contact with graduate instructors.
Freshman Sana Amin expressed a belief that replacing GAFs with instructors will ultimately have a detrimental impact on students.
“The GAF program was very easy-use and allowed students to get help in a comfortable environment,” she said. “We’ve had a few instructors this year and they are quite intimidating to approach and study with.”
Levinson echoed this sentiment.
“Many students feel comfortable approaching GAFs and asking for help because they aren’t intimidated by them; they don’t think of them as teaching assistants, but rather as peers who are there to help,” she said. “This new program may also take away the personal relationship that many students have formed with GAFs.”
The GAF program will run until the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, at which point the contracts of the current GAFs will expire. The new program is expected to come into implementation for the 2016-2017 academic year.
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