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Nidal Daou and Yaser Abunnasr awarded for teaching excellence
5/9/2017
Jennifer Muller  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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​The fifteenth annual Teaching Excellence Award was given out at a ceremony in West Hall on May 8, 2017. This year, the two recipients were Assistant Professor Nidal Daou from the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); and Assistant Professor Yaser Abunnasr from the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS).

The two outstanding educators were chosen by a committee comprised of representatives from each of the faculties as well as a student and an alumnus. The committee reviewed all nominations, which came in from across the University, and gathered references from deans, department chairs, students, and other professors. All nominees had to submit a comprehensive teaching portfolio with evidence of teaching effectiveness and innovation in the classroom. 

As chair of the selection committee, Provost Harajli congratulated the awardees and all of the nominees, whom he described as a “very strong cohort of candidates.” He also thanked the selection committee for their hard work and professionalism, as well as the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), which organizes this award. 

“Let us not forget that all of this could not have happened without the great leadership and administrative skills of the Center for Teaching and Learning: Dr. Saouma Boujaoude, Dr. Amal BouZeineddine, and Ms. Lamia Husseiny,” said Provost Harajli.  

The 2017 awardees

Dr. Nidal Daou graduated from AUB with a BA in Psychology and received her PhD from City University of New York (CUNY). She has been teaching at AUB since 2007 and was described by her department chair as “committed to her students and her work.” One student testimonial said that Dr. Daou, “does not pour information into her students’ minds but rather communicates effectively and encourages her students to explore, question, reflect, and think critically and rigorously.”

In her speech, Dr. Daou thanked her students for bringing out the best in her; her mentors for being superb role models; and her parents, who were both teachers themselves. “In the end, this award has to go to my parents,” said Dr. Daou. “If the International College offered a teaching excellence award, my mom would have been the Meryl Streep of that award.”

The second awardee, Dr. Yaser Abunnasr, is also an alumnus. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from AUB with a minor in Near Eastern Archaeology, later earning his PhD in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has been teaching at AUB since 2009 and the dean of his faculty, Dr. Nahla Hwalla, pointed out that this is the first time a professor from FAFS has won the Teaching Excellence Award.

One of his colleagues said of Dr. Abunnasr, “He has achieved high standings in his teaching, mentoring of students, service, and professional development, as well as innovative teaching methods.”  Several students also praised him for his great understanding and support and for always finding “the most effective way for them to absorb the information.” 

In his speech at the ceremony, Dr. Abunnasr explained his philosophy of teaching as Learning from Learners: “By listening to my students I have been able to demystify the profession of landscape architecture into its practical, theoretical, and ethical values allowing me to become a better mentor and guide, and to grow my students into citizens first and landscape architects second.” 

Creating a culture of teaching excellence

This annual award is just one of many activities organized by the Center for Teaching and Learning, which serves all faculties at the University to promote and support high-quality teaching and learning, in coordination with other AUB units.

“The organizing principle of the Center is excellence in teaching,” said CTL Director, Dr. Boujaoude. “The Advisory Committee for the Center includes the AUB Writing Center, the Communications Skills Program, and the Office of Information Technology; so we think together about how to improve the quality of teaching at AUB.”

The Center’s activities include workshops, seminars, and forums; an annual conference; local and regional consultations; new faculty orientation; Faculty Learning Communities; and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants to support research projects by AUB faculty members.

As with all the Center’s undertakings, there is a synergy between the activities. For example, those that win the Teaching Excellence Award or participate in a Faculty Learning Community are asked to share their teaching strategies or present the results of their research in one of the CTL seminars or the annual conference; all with the broad aim of creating a self-perpetuating culture of teaching excellence at AUB.
 
Story Highlights
  • ​​The fifteenth annual Teaching Excellence Award was given out at a ceremony in West Hall on May 8, 2017. 
  • This year, the two recipients were Assistant Professor Nidal Daou from the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); and Assistant Professor Yaser Abunnasr from the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS).

 
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