Academic Council


Brian A. Ellison, Ph.D. is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of the American University of Armenia (AUA).  Prior to this appointment, he served as Interim Provost and Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at AUA. Dr. Ellison previously served as Director of the Martin School and founding Chair of the Department of Politics and Philosophy at the University of Idaho, as Chair of the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University, and as Director of Master of Public Administration programs at the University of Idaho, the College of Charleston, and Missouri State University. Dr. Ellison has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Bulgaria, as a visiting professor in China, Turkey, and Russia, and as a higher education consultant in Armenia. His research on public administration, local government, and environmental politics have appeared in numerous journals and book chapters. Dr. Ellison received his PhD in political science from Colorado State University.


Vache Gabrielyan, Ph.D. is the Dean of the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE) and the Director of the Paul Avedisian Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD). Dr. Gabrielyan received his BA in Economics from the Yerevan State University and MA and Ph.D. in Public Administration from Rutgers University. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Rutgers and Yerevan State University and for more than 20 years at the American University of Armenia. During the past two decades, he served as Vice Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Finance, Minister-Chief of the Staff of the Government and Deputy Prime Minister, and worked as a consultant for the World Bank and other international organizations. Dr. Gabrielyan has a strong record of publications, including books, edited books and journals, and articles in peer-reviewed journals.


Aram Hajian, Ph.D., is the Dean of the Zaven and Sonia Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) and the Director of the Engineering Research Center. Dr. Hajian received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University.  After working in the Biomechanics Group at Exponent, Inc., he relocated to Armenia in 2000, where he has worked in a number of hi-tech, entrepreneurial and community positions. He has served as Executive Director of and as a Managing Consultant at Arlex Intl. in Yerevan. He is also a co-founder and board member of the Chess Academy of Armenia. His scholarly publications are in the area of biomechanics and relate to the mechanical characterization of the human hand. He teaches several courses in the CSE related to Entrepreneurship and Project Management.


Sharistan Melkonian, EdD, is Dean of General Education and Director of Assessment and Accreditation. She has worked at AUA since 2011 when she joined the University as part of the development team for AUA’s undergraduate program.  Melkonian is in charge of accreditation, assessment and institutional research and successfully co-led collaborative university efforts to earn reaffirmation of accreditation for nine years, through a U.S. Department of Education-recognized regional accreditation agency.  Melkonian is also a member of the University’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee.  She is also in charge of faculty professional development related to teaching and learning. Melkonian has presented at several international conferences in the United States, Europe and Armenia on teaching, learning and assessment.  She served on the inaugural Accreditation Committee of the National Center for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation, Armenia’s national accreditation agency.  Prior to joining AUA she led the Armenian Volunteer Corps, Armenia’s premier volunteer placement organization. Prior to moving to Armenia, Melkonian spent eight years as Legislative Director for YouthBuild USA, a national non-profit organization providing education, counseling and job training to unemployed youth. A Massachusetts native, Melkonian has lived in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston where she was actively involved with a number of organizations, including St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School and the Armenian National Committee of America. She has served on the Steering Committee for the Youth Policy Action Center (Washington, DC) and the Campaign for Youth (Washington, DC), the Board of Directors and the Education Council of the St. Stephen’s Elementary School (Watertown, MA); and as Board Member of the Armenian National Committee of America. She has a B.A. in Communications from Worcester State University, an MA in Comparative and International Education with a concentration in Economics and Education from Teachers College Columbia University, and an EdD in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.


Varduhi Petrosyan, PhD, MS is a Professor of Health Sciences from AUA Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) . She is the Dean of the CHS  and Director of the Center for Health Services Research and Development. Dr. Petrosyan was the Associate Dean in 2007-2015. She earned her PhD from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management. She also has a Master of Science, focusing on environmental health, from the University of Idaho and a degree in biochemistry from Yerevan State University. She has successfully led health services research projects in Armenia and the region focusing on public health services, tobacco control, tuberculosis control, primary care, ophthalmic care, diabetes care, environmental health, and other important projects. Dr. Petrosyan teaches graduate courses in health services research, program evaluation, and comparative health systems. In 2011-2016, she was a member of the Country Coordination Mechanism for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs in the Republic of Armenia. In 2012-2014, Dr. Petrosyan was the Advisor on Health Reforms to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia on a voluntary basis. Currently she is a member of the Public Council next to the Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia (MOH), the Management Council of the Health Inspectorate of the MOH, and the Working Group on Cancer Control Strategy of the MOH. Prior to her arrival to AUA, she held a position of Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she conducted research on comparative health systems (focusing on health spending and cross national comparison of quality) in member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Dr. Petrosyan has authored many peer-reviewed publications and has extensively presented her work at international scientific meetings and conferences. She is currently the Associate Editor of the International Journal for Equity in Health, an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal.