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Introduction

Islamic Azad University-IAU
 
The early years following the victory of the Islamic Republic of Iran's revolution, in early 80s, the country was experiencing a big challenge, which needed to be changed into an opportunity for the development of the newly established government.
The world was to experience a rapid pace of knowledge generation, for the promotion of which the government had developed the required plans. The early 80s was concurrent with the dominance of computer over the world as well as the ever-increasing radical changes in human life because of new technologies. Meanwhile, the facilities and capacities of universities in Iran, to meet the great demand of the Iranian youth for higher education, were so limited that high school graduates had to enter a very tense academic competition, only the winners of which could enjoy the privilege of studying at higher education. At this point of time, there were no more than 160000 university students in the country.
Accordingly, the idea for setting up a non-state university was brought into the limelight. Relying on non-state sector and complying with Islamic rules, the university was founded in 1982 by the patronage of the late Imam Khomeini, namely "Islamic Azad University (IAU)". Aiming to train a post-revolutionary generation of specialized and well-trained human resources and experts, the university tried to make a great stride in the country's development. 
 
The IAU is currently one of the largest attending universities in the world. The university is a non-state and non-profit higher education institution offering so many fields of study in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Architecture, Basic Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, Medical Sciences and Veterinary at Associate, Bachelor, Master, Ph.D. and Professional Doctorate levels.
There are, currently, 1326989 students studying at 369 branches, 688 SAMA Schools and 120 vocational collegesof the Islamic Azad University.The university has played a pivotal role in educating the human resources in post-revolution era through a network of its branches across the country, within an area of 10620000 sqm including university campuses, buildings, laboratories, workshops and research centers, dormitories, mosques, and restaurants. In this respect, more than 5640000 students have been graduated from IAU in various levels and majors of study, so far. The graduates of the university are now undertaking research projects and teaching positions at the universities all over the world.
 
 
The university, at present, offers more than 1300 programs of study, from associate to doctorate levels both in medical and non-medical majors of study, via its so many branches in the Iranian cities.
Internationally speaking, the Islamic Azad University has surpassed the national boundaries through more than 10000 international students studying at inner branches and overseas branches in Afghanistan, Lebanon, the UK and the UAE. The IAU also has planned to set up some other overseas branches in other countries in the near future. In this regard, 252 memorandums of understanding (MoU) have been inked with worldwide universities, so far. Islamic Azad University is also a member at 5 international associations including AUAP, ASAIHL, FUIW, IAUP, and IAU.
 
 
The IAU has about 46000 teaching staff including full-time, part-time faculty members as well as visiting and adjunct lecturers. Besides, the IAU has about 35000 administrative staff, 137 research centers, 6769 laboratories and 3420 workshops, through which 38803 research projects are running in the fields of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Mechatronics, Plasma Physics, Interdisciplinary Sciences, and Advanced Sciences and Technology.
The Islamic Azad University has opened new chapters in science generation and circulation at home by obtaining remarkable achievements in the scope of modern technologies. Producing hybrid and electrical cars as well as gaining the top ranks in the world’s robotics competitions, more brighten the way we are stepping in. These remarkable achievements have brought the Iranian universities and science centers’ hidden potentials to the limelight to enforce their self-sufficiency and to reach the new technologies.
 
 
Besides, the Islamic Azad University has always been active in cultural and social domains. To this end, the university has been successful in reaching many accomplishments via conducting researchstudies on cultural, social and religious activities, establishing cultural and social centers, supporting student publications, holding cultural and artistic festivals on students' cultural identity as well as introducing the cultural elites.
Following the continuing success of IAU’s scientific and academic teams in international events, the university’s sport teams have won many medals in athletic competitions, nationally and internationally, in different sport tournaments in various fields such as Karate, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Volleyball, Cycling, Basketball, etc. 
In the area of medical sciences, the IAU has 104 medical branches, 1649 faculty members and 54203 students, majoring in 67 fields of study such as Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Family and Public Health, Nursing, Midwifery, Laboratory Sciences, Nutrition, at various levels of study. The university also enjoys 10 operational hospitals, with 725 active beds offering medical services to the public, and there are more other hospitals under construction.
"The experience gives birth to wisdom." The IAU, today with a 38-year existence history, reveals that the ups and downs experienced by the university is in the same line with the inevitable globalization trend, which is the IAU's objective in the years to come.
 
Some current statistics of the IAU are represented in the following tables:
Table 1. Distribution of Students at IAU in Different Levels of Study
Level of Study
Men
Women
Total
Associate
160179
69782
229961
Bachelor
387799
323947
711746
Master
179159
137149
316308
Professional Doctorate
7205
9135
16340
Ph.D.
31376
21258
52634
Total of Number of Students
765718
561271
1326989
 
Obviously, via such a big population of students, the IAU could be considered as the most influential higher education institution for training the required human resources in Iran.
 The university is also the pioneer in the development of research and technology as the first private university that sets up Incubator Centers, Tech-Trade Systems, Technology Parks, Laboratories and Workshops.
 
Table 2. IAU Statistics in Research and Technology Development
Development Area
Number
Labs
6769
Workshops
3420
Labs & Workshops Experts
2884
General Research Facilities
136834
Professional Research Facilities
3010
Active Research Centers
137
 
Table 3. Research Projects at IAU
Types of Projects
Number
Projects at IAU
35000
Projects with the Collaboration of IAU and Other Organizations
3803
Total Number of Projects
38803
 
 
 
 Table 4. IAU Non-Medical Programs of Study
Topic
Number/Percent
Number of Current Programs of Study
1251
Number of Programs in Various Branches
23943
Major Programs of Study
Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Architecture, Basic Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, and Veterinary
The Contribution of Islamic Azad University to Higher Education in Iran
40%: Retrieved from the Institute of Research & Planning in Higher Education of MSRT in 2017-18
MSRT: Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology of I.R. Iran
Table 5. Number of Non-Medical Fields of Study in Major Programs
Major
Number
Agriculture and Natural Resources
184
Arts and Architecture
93
Basic Sciences
145
Engineering
333
Humanities
458
Veterinary
38
Total
1251
 
Table 6. Distribution of Non-Medical Majors at Different Levels of Study
Major
Levels of Study
Associate
Bachelor
Master
Professional Doctorate
Ph.D.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
506
732
649
0
270
Arts and Architecture
807
678
321
0
63
Basic Sciences
190
720
1047
0
335
Engineering
3605
2817
1737
0
435
Humanities
1961
2711
3081
0
1133
Veterinary
40
41
13
12
39
Total in the Majors
7109
7699
6848
12
2275
Total
23943
Table 7. IAU Human Resources (Faculty Members, Teaching Staff, and Administrative Staff)
Cooperation Type
Number
 
Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty Members
26398
Men: 18560
Women: 7838
Visiting and Adjunct Lecturers
19522
 
Administrative Staff
34794
Men: 24019
Women: 10775
Table 8. Distribution of IAU Graduates in Various Majors of Study
Major
Number
 
Agriculture and Natural Resources
32100
 
Arts and Architecture
21927
 
Applied Sciences
267634
 
Basic Sciences
154608
 
Engineering
1578524
 
General Majors
1988170
 
Humanities
1320356
 
Medical Sciences
119920
 
Teacher Training
133295
 
Veterinary
30117
 
Total
5646651
Men: 3232382
Women: 2414269
 
 
Table 9. Distribution of IAU Graduates at Various Levels of Study
Level
Number
Associate
1651599
Bachelor
3266286
Master
692369
Professional Doctorate
23305
Ph.D.
13092
Total
5646651
 
Table 10. IAU Civil Spaces and Buildings
Type of Buildings
Space (sqm)
Educational Buildings
3148870
Administrative Buildings
1344546
Research Space (Labs, Workshops, Research Centers, Libraries, etc.)
1600000
Dormitories
1290000
Student Facilities
1768939
Cultural Spaces (Mosques, and etc.)
520000
Sport Space
630000
SAMA Schools
317645
Total Buildings Space
10620000
Total Outdoor Space (Green Areas, etc.)
38000000
 
Table 11. IAU Medical Sciences Statistics
Topic
Number
 
Number of Medical Branches
104
 
Number of Medical Faculty Members
1649
 
Number of Medical Students
54203
Men: 14063
Women:40140
Number of Medical Fields of Study
67
 
Hospitals
10
 
Active Beds in the Hospitals
725
 
 
Table 12. IAU International Statistics
Scope
Numbers
Number of IAU International Students
More than 10000
Number of International Students Studying at IAU Inner Branches
7623
Number of International Students Studying at IAU Overseas Branches
1825
Number of Signed MoUs
252
Number of  International Associations in which IAU is a Member
5 including (AUAP, ASAIHL, FUIW, IAUP, and IAU)
AUAP: Association of Universities of Asia and the Pacific
ASAIHL: The Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning
FUIW: Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World
IAUP: International Association of University Presidents
IAU: International Association of Universities
Number of Overseas Branches
4
 
Islamic Azad University was the host for the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning-ASAIHL Conference 2018 on the “Role of Private Universities on the Development of Higher Education” during 10-13 December 2018 at IAU-Qazvin branch. The conference was held with the presence of the Association’s Secretary General, Vice-Presidents, Board Members, representatives of the university members, embassies’ delegates as well as the Iranian and international scholars and dignitaries.
In this conference, 35 papers and 2 country reports were presented. In addition, 6 speeches were also delivered on the “Conditions of Higher Education in the Current World.” During the event, the scientists and researchers delivered their articles on “Teaching Methods and their Feedbacks in Higher Education; Curriculum Development based on Innovative Perspectives in Higher Education; and Investigating Higher Education Teaching Methodologies in Specific Fields of Study.”
Regarding the mentioned statistics for the IAU facilities and resources, the university has faced a fundamental growth in research perspectives. The obvious examples of such a growth are the achievements of IAU within innovative research projects that resulted in gaining the top ranks at the World Robotic Championships during 2013-2018. In this respect, the IAU was the host for the 14th RoboCup IranOpen and 2nd Robocop Asia Pacific international competitions in Kish Island. Further to this as result of focusing on research activities, the IAU has become internationally known via the research statistics shown in the following Table.
Table 13. IAU Research Events and Publications Statistics
Title
Total Numbers
Published Articles
251925
ISI Articles
70810
Scopus Articles
90220
ISC Articles
68895
Articles in Iran
22000
Books
5250
Translations
1084
Registered Patents
1951
Scientific and Research Journals
387
Scientific and Research Journals with International Citation Indexes
22
Scientific and Research Journals Verified by the Ministries of Science, Research and Technology & Health and Medical Education
112
Scientific and Research Journals with Rankings at IAU
123
Scientific Conferences
International Conferences
190
National Conferences
1989
Provincial Meetings
2145
National Summits
2644