American Univesity of Beirut

Experiential learning through community engagement

​The grand challenge facing the next generation in Lebanon and the region is the increased competition and demand for water, energy, food, and health. This is the challenge that we must train FAFS students to address. The changing socioeconomic landscape, the widening gap between rich and poor, the increasing healthcare needs, the urgent immigrant crisis: all require a new educational model.  This model necessitates teams of students working across multiple cultures on solutions to real problems.

FAFS is expanding its current offerings to include experiential service-learning through community building. Dean Mohtar described service learning to senior students as a community-based approach to learning and explained the ‘global design team’ concept as one that provides students with real world experiences in which they learn while serving society. Lessons include social responsibility, community engagement and identification of its needs. The goal is to achieve reciprocity between the students and the community as the students experience critical thinking and reflect on the lessons learned. 

This experience will integrate knowledge across the curriculum, and  include an address and analysis of practical problems, including project feasibility, design philosophy, teamwork, communication, economics, product liability, and reliability.

FAFS calls upon its community to begin engaging students by identifying projects that can begin next year. Students will be recruited to join these projects, in the hope and expectation that, following a full cycle of the academic year, a showcase will take place that highlights the success of student engagement with the community. 

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