About IAUA

     

    After the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran’s population saw a great increase in the birthrate. Actually, the population was one of the fastest growing populations in the world and the country was going to witness a large crowd of students asking for higher education in just a decade or so. This made authorities think in advance of ways to address the issue before it gets too late, especially with respect to the fact that Iranian families put a premium on higher education.


    It was evident that the then state university system did not have the potential to accommodate for the needs of the would-be students. At the same time, providing millions of students with free higher education could put the country’s budget under stress. This state of affairs convinced all decision makers that a private university system that could be managed by charging tuition on students was the only solution. In the meantime, it would be much better for the students to study in their hometowns to minimize the costs of accommodation and transportation. This meant that, there was a pressing necessity for a university with branches spread all over the country and accessible to all walks of life. Islamic Azad University (IAU) was the outcome of such a line of thinking.


    In 1984 Ardabil Branch was one the earliest branches of IAU to be established. It is a truism that at the beginning the branch did not have many of the standards of a fully-developed university. But, in just a few years, things went from strength to strength and today the university really stands out among the branches of IAU by the quality and scope of the programs it offers. Currently, the number of students has surged to more than 15,000, although the turn up patterns have changed from undergraduate to post graduate. The rented old buildings too have given way to newly built spacious buildings and green compounds.


    More than 230 employed academic staff and more than 400 adjunct and visiting professors teach different courses in this university. The university has four major compounds and offers programs at all levels in many disciplines. The largest site of the university is located at the corner of Basij Square in one of the upscale parts of the city. This site, with its many classrooms, is home to four faculties of humanities, medical sciences, basic sciences, and technology and engineering. The second and third sites are called Danesh and Shahed compounds. Danesh compound is where science and research labs are located and Shahed compound is where students of technology and engineering get technical training in different areas in well-equipped workshops. The last compound, called Sama, provides educational services for the students of Associate’s degree.


    IAU, Ardabil branch has always been and still is striving to adjust itself to the criteria laid by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The dominant ideology among the administrative body and academic staff of the university is that our only prized possession is our students. This belief is so strong that has convinced all faculties to adopt tough measures in employing academic staff so that only highly qualified graduates are offered teaching positions. Quality teaching is our motto which resonates well with our commitment to excellence. The best proof for our commitment is the students who leave our university after getting their degrees. According to statistics, a high percentage of these graduates, around 70%, either manage it to enroll in and attend reputable domestic and foreign universities to continue their studies or integrate into the job market as qualified workforce and technicians.


    The university has currently started to take other steps in helping its current students and graduates. One of these steps is putting up knowledge-based enterprises, by which it is hoped that a lot of these students and graduates will be channeled to industrial units. This approach will certainly bring our university to an even closer contact with industries and open up new avenues to our students. Another step is to cooperate with universities in other countries. A first step of this kind has just been taken by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Dresden University in Germany. Also IAU-A has a plan to join the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL). This association, unlike its appellation, is not limited to universities in Asia but also has members from European, and North and South American universities. We have plans to get in touch with other universities and turn out to be working at an international scale.