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Fifty-eight faculty members join AUB from distinguished institutions worldwide
8/24/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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Hailing from a diverse set of backgrounds and with a plethora of expertise, 58 new faculty members joined AUB this fall, introducing new programs, specializations, research initiatives, and perspectives to the University.

During a three-day bi-annual New Faculty Orientation, organized by the Office of the Provost and the New Faculty Orientation program, AUB’s new professors were offered several opportunities to directly interact with the University Provost, upper administration, deans, and representatives of various research and service centers that offered their set of tips for easier integration within AUB and Lebanon. A tour around the neighborhood followed, along with a welcoming reception at President Fadlo Khuri’s residence, in the presence of respective deans.

“Everything we do to fulfil the mission of AUB is driven by three components: research, teaching, and service,” said Provost Mohamed Harajli at the orientation opening. “We are confident that you will do very well in all of these important components.” Provost Harajli welcomed the new faculty members and commended the diversity and high representation of AUB’s faculties in this year’s group. Before holding an informal Q&A session, he introduced AUB’s Academic Strategic Plan and informed them of the facts and figures of the University’s faculties and schools, and their programs, students, and faculty bodies.

The new members, in different stages of their careers, converged in recognizing a reciprocal relation with AUB, whereby the University and its faculty will continue to grow together. They joined AUB knowing that they will be contributing their expertise but also gaining much from the University that will grow their research and careers.

“AUB offers an environment for young scientists to continue to grow. Judging from the caliber of my colleagues in biology and other departments at AUB, I feel that I will certainly continue to develop here as a scientist,” said Dr. Amal Rahmeh, a biologist who did her post-doc at Harvard Medical School and was Instructor in Microbiology and Immunobiology and Assistant Director of the Center of Excellence for Translational Research for small molecule inhibitors of virus entry at Harvard Medical School. “I am very impressed by the state-of-the-art research that is going on in AUB’s Department of Biology. It is very advanced in the topics it addresses in fields such as microbiology, cancer, and cell biology.” 

Some of these faculty members had not been to Lebanon but had heard of AUB; some met at conferences with professors from AUB, started a casual communication that developed into research collaboration, publication, and visits to AUB that led to their eventual employment at AUB. Dr. Wided Batat was one of those, joining AUB’s Olayan School of Business from France.

Dr. Joachim Diederich, a clinical psychologist from Germany and founder of the Psychology Network Pty Ltd, has been doing research in Australia on computational methods to support mental health assessment. “I’ve always had a bit of an eye on AUB and I always saw how the universities that I visited in the region look up to AUB,” he said.  “I have always thought it would be wonderful to add AUB to my long career and here I am. I am already very impressed by AUB and the ambition of the University, my expectations over the years were confirmed.”

Around 40% of the new faculty members are women academics. A similar proportion of the group is international. Twenty-five of the new faculty members​ joined AUB’s largest faculty, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Sixteen new faculty members joined the Faculty of Medicine, five joined the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, four the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, three the Hariri School of Nursing, two the Faculty of Health Sciences, and three faculty members joined as directors of three programs at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, under the Office of the Provost.

A general excitement was expressed about AUB’s push for interfaculty and interdisciplinary collaboration, which is becoming essential in research. For many coming from abroad, it was comparative work with a leading university in the region that they were seeking. Dr. Kathryn Maude joined AUB as assistant professor of English, after getting her PhD from King’s College London. “It’s really exciting for me to be able to contribute to AUB’s fairly new minor of gender studies but I really hope that being here will also diversify my research so I can do some comparative work on the UK and the Middle East.”

The orientation rooms buzzed with enthusiastic professors already initiating academic collaborations with their new colleagues; recommending names, brainstorming interdisciplinary research ideas, and even exchanging tips on their new apartments. 

Many of the new medical faculty have received their MD degrees and/or done their residencies at AUB. They were reunited with their university colleagues when they all returned to AUB as faculty at AUBMC. Dr. Ahmad Zaghal completed his residency in General Surgery at AUBMC, and followed it by a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and a second subspecialty fellowship in Pediatric Surgery and Urology at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

“It has always been my plan to come back here,” said Dr. Zaghal. “To AUB specifically… otherwise, I had other plans abroad. AUB was always my plan A.”


Story Highlights
  • Hailing from a diverse set of backgrounds and with a plethora of expertise, 58 new faculty members joined AUB this fall, introducing new programs, specializations, research initiatives, and perspectives to the University.

  • ​During a three-day bi-annual New Faculty Orientation, organized by the Office of the Provost and the New Faculty Orientation program, AUB’s new professors were offered several opportunities to directly interact with the University Provost, upper administration, deans, and representatives of various research and service centers that offered their set of tips for easier integration within AUB and Lebanon. A tour around the neighborhood followed, along with a welcoming reception at President Fadlo Khuri’s residence, in the presence of respective deans.​
 
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