Lebanese American University


LAU’s dedication to supporting research acknowledged in THE ranking

Times Higher Education ranks LAU second in the region for research impact.

“You cannot say about yourself that you’re the best,” explains LAU President Joseph Jabbra. “You need someone else who comes in, looks at what you’re doing, and pronounces whether you’re good or not.”

That is exactly what happened this week, when Times Higher Education (THE) – the authority on university rankings worldwide – acknowledged LAU’s innovation by ranking it second in the region in terms of research impact.

The ranking is based on a quantitative measure of the number of times research papers are cited. “Our ranking speaks for itself, it speaks to the quality of the research produced by our faculty,” says Jabbra. The success is not incidental but the result of a strategic plan that has seen LAU focus on faculty and innovation.

“The university has been through a transition that began ten years ago. We built a strategic plan to expand, with new schools and accreditation, and successfully implemented it. Now our second five-year plan focuses on education, students, faculty and innovation,” enthuses Jabbra enthusiastically.

Next year THE will produce a ranking list for MENA that takes into account a wider variety of criteria. “We are motivated by the upcoming THE ranking, not for the sake of ranking, but rather for the sake of raising the quality of our institution,” says Jabbra. “It is not possible to achieve perfection because improvement is ongoing, but as we strive for it we improve many things along the way.”

The many improvements have included additional funding for faculty research grants as well as a recruitment strategy that targets faculty with research capabilities. “The number of research papers published by LAU faculty in high-impact high-rejection peer reviewed journals grew by 30 per cent since 2012,” says provost George Najjar, enthusiastically. “Our faculty grew by only five per cent during that time, which means we have been successful on multiple fronts. I am very proud of that and to have been part of that.”

Pride in the THS announcement has resulted in a jubilant mood across LAU’s campuses. “Students and faculty have been coming up to me,” says Jabbra. “They are so proud. It reflects positively and psyches people up. Taking pride in an institution you belong to is essential.”

This is the latest in a series of transitions that LAU has enjoyed in its history and, says Jabbra, “there are a lot of things coming together in order to catapult us into the limelight within the constellation of leading American institutions, not only in the region, but in the world. It’s important to take pride in that.”


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