A station in appreciation of AUB’s scholarship

​​​​​​This article was published on the AUB website, written by Safa Jafari Safa (ss152@aub.edu.lb), AUB Office of Communications

The AUB Faculty Book Exhibition, on display at the lobby of the Jafet Library, showcases 250 books published by AUB faculty members throughout the university between 2011 and 2018. Open to the public until February 10, 2019, the exhibit was launched in a ceremony held at the Jafet Library Reserve Reading Room, in the presence of Chairman of the Board Philip Khoury, AUB President Fadlo Khuri, members of the Board, administration, faculty, and students.

“Books are the lifeblood of a university and a library. The depth and the breadth of what we are seeing right now is a very good reflection on where this university is. This is a deep biopsy of AUB’s culture, AUB’s education, AUB’s very values,” said President Khuri.

The books compile papers and work by academia from all AUB faculties: instructors, full professors, scientists, humanists, engineers, archaeologists, novelists, researchers, business consultants, and health professionals tackling a wide range of topics, ranging from education in Lebanon’s schools to graph modules and wireless systems; from the sociopolitical dimensions of mathematical education to human rights, social entrepreneurship, and food’s relation to war and freedom; from award-winning books on public health and clinical surgery to also award-winning international novels.

“You will see from this output that AUB is a world leader in Middle Eastern studies, whether in Arabic language and literature, history, archaeology, politics, anthropology, sociology, or other disciplines,” said Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Nadia El Cheikh. “This is not coming out of nowhere. We do have excellent faculty members for sure, but also AUB has been increasing its research support and this is becoming progressively visible in the number and quality of our faculty members’ publication output. The reinstatement of tenure will only support our upward trajectory… These books are AUB’s ambassadors, not only beyond the confines of our university but also, beyond the confines of the present.”

Around 164 books have been published by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 31 by the Faculty of Medicine, 19 by the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, 18 by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, 13 by the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, and three by the Faculty of Health Sciences. Some books are accessible in full in electronic form.

“Both of our [university] rankings are based on journal articles, but I assure you if we were able to develop a ranking system based on books published by international presses, AUB would rank the top in the Arab world,” said Dr. Lokman Meho, director of AUB University Libraries, as most of the books were published by US and UK presses, including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Brill universities. “This is really an incredible achievement by our faculty members. The hundreds of hours of time we spent in organizing this [exhibit] do not match the amount of time and effort a faculty member would put into publishing a book, creating knowledge, and influencing society.”

The books are showcased at the exhibition along with their abstracts and the biographies of their authors. Visitors are able to browse an interactive booklet of the displayed publications, searching through touchscreens by author or keyword and accessing all abstracts.

“Today is a wonderful example of the diversity of [AUB’s] scholarship,” said President Khuri who added that the idea behind tenure, recently restored at AUB, is the production of opportunities for in-depth scholarship, which can be shown in part by books. “Here is a celebration of the culture of the university and books that criticize the culture from where that came from. That, is the definition of the university; it is controversial, it asks difficult questions, it goes in depth, it is not afraid to challenge dogma, and it is unafraid of bringing its thought, its scholarship, its teaching out into printed form for the whole world to criticize.”