The mission of The American College of the Mediterranean (ACM) is to provide excellence in international education, inspire intercultural awareness and prepare students for success in a global community through the study of European and Mediterranean history, languages, cultures, and contemporary international issues.
- ACM advances this mission through a unique combination of interdisciplinary programming, internships, and curricula for both full-time degree-seeking and visiting students.
- ACM’s mission is a distillation of its history, and reflects the commitment of its founders to international higher education as an engine of self-transformation, global understanding, and societal progress in the United States and abroad.
- ACM creates an academic community of full-time degree-seeking and visiting students in an international environment that develops intellectual tolerance, freedom and integrity.
A Short History of
The American College of the Mediterranean and
The Institute for American Universities
The study abroad institute at The American College of the Mediterranean (ACM) is the Institute for American Universities (IAU), which was founded as an independent institution in 1957 in Aix-en-Provence, France by academics and former diplomats such as Dr. Herbert Maza (who also served as its first President), Dr. Evron Kirkpatrick, Ambassadors Jeane Kirkpatrick, Dr. Max Kampelman, and others who wanted to provide a platform for American students interested in studying diplomatic relations with related interests and careers in the Foreign Service and the State Department.
IAU was initially established under the authority of Aix-Marseille University and offered a study abroad program for American students providing transfer credit back to American universities for students willing to live and study in France for one year. With IAU’s inception, it became the first institution to offer study abroad programs to students with majors other than French language, since in the late 1950s the only way to study in France was through French universities using the native language.
As one of the first institutions to make study abroad available to non-language majors, IAU established itself as a European center for undergraduate study in the arts, humanities, and social sciences for students from over 500 U.S. colleges and universities. Located in Aix-en-Provence, France since 1957,
By 1966 IAU was enrolling approximately 500 students a year and in 1984 it incorporated The Marchutz School of Fine Arts (founded by Leo Marchutz) into its offerings. In 2012, IAU began identifying itself as a study abroad College to reflect the fact that its program offerings, curriculum, and support services mirrored those found at U.S. institutions. In 2013, IAU expanded its offerings and opened a summer program option in Barcelona, Spain. In addition, it began offering multi-country January term/intersession seminars in Europe and North Africa as a way of leveraging more effectively its location within the Mediterranean region as an educational asset. Shortly thereafter, IAU began welcoming U.S. faculty-led programs to support U.S. professors seeking a customized study abroad experience for their students. A resident fellows program that supports university faculty on sabbatical soon followed. To date, IAU has served more than 700 colleges and universities, more than 25,000 undergraduates, and has an annual enrollment of over 1,000 study abroad students. IAU is often considered to be one of the oldest and largest study abroad programs of its kind in Europe
In 2015 IAU launched its initial tranche of degree programs and welcomed its first MFA (Master of Fine Arts) students at The Marchutz School. The decision to establish degree-granting programs emanated from a 2014 decision of the Board of Directors of IAU to pursue U.S. accreditation, coincident with its appointment of IAU’s fifth president, Dr. Carl Jubran. IAU was supported in its decision by its Council of Academic Advisors (CAA). In 2016, IAU filed articles of incorporation for The American College of the Mediterranean (ACM), which would ultimately house its degree programs. In March, 2021, ACM and IAU officially merged with ACM as the successor corporation while IAU serves as ACM's study abroad institute.
ACM currently provides its own transcripts to students who complete its degree and study abroad programs. This is done through direct affiliation agreements which allow for the direct transfer of academic credit. In cases where U.S. institutions will not accept the IAU study abroad credit directly, longstanding partnerships with several regionally accredited U.S. Schools of Record are in place with Fairfield University and Northern Illinois University, either of whom can provide an accredited transcript. Until ACM achieves regional accreditation through a U.S. accreditor, it is pursuing recognition of its new degrees and course equivalencies through Northern Illinois University, its oldest and most longstanding School of Record.
ACM seeks to become a distinguished hybrid institution that integrates the best practices and values of an international institution of Higher Education with those of a degree-granting American-style university. ACM’s study abroad institute, IAU, is a founding member of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), a network of prestigious American institutions of higher learning located throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, dedicated to promoting American-style education abroad. Thanks to these connections, ACM shares resources and expertise with premier academic institutions such as American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo, American University of Paris, Central European University, and John Cabot University.