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New LAU school focuses on architecture and design student and industry needs

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Dr. Elie Badr was appointed acting dean of the new School of Architecture and Design.

October 9, 2009—

LAU started the 2009­–2010 academic year with the opening of the new School of Architecture and Design. Headed by Acting Dean Elie Badr, the new school brings existing Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design and Fine Arts programs — previously offered by other schools — under one design-oriented roof.

Before the reshuffling, the Architecture and Interior Design program was under the School of Engineering and Architecture — now renamed School of Engineering — while the Graphic Design and Fine Arts programs were offered by the School of Arts and Sciences.

“Bringing all these disciplines together in a single school of design brings more cohesion, and thus strengthens these programs that were operating under different administrative units,” says Dr. Abdallah Sfeir, LAU provost. “Beirut is a hub for all creative disciplines in the Middle East, and it is very befitting that LAU capitalizes on this in its offerings,” he adds.

“These programs are very much interlinked and should be in one school, in order to deliver the best education to our students and expand our school to include additional design programs” says Dr. Badr, who also serves as assistant
provost for Academic Programs.

Badr hopes to build a solid foundation for the school during his tenure, focusing on financial, governance and marketing issues. “You have to give [the school] an identity, create bylaws for it, develop its own academic plans, integrate it in the university, and set it on the right path of growth to deliver quality design programs,” he explains.

Long-range plans for the school include creating a strategic plan and identifying ways to expand it.

Although the school is only a few days old and it is too early to tell what expansions it might undergo, Badr has already some ideas.

“Lebanon is very well known for its jewelry and fashion design. … These are some ideas that we will think about in expanding the school,” he says. “We will see which design fields are more suitable for the country and for the region,” he adds.

According to Badr, Lebanon and the region do not have many schools focusing on design, so the new LAU school — with its existing and future programs — will serve the industry well.

“With the foundation of the new Architecture and Design School, LAU has once again revealed its remarkable determination to break boundaries, test limits and excel in all its endeavors and undertakings,” says LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra. “The school’s establishment, derived from the same core values that have for decades kept LAU moving forward and cemented our moral and academic prominence, will offer specialized and student-tailored academic programs for outstanding theoretical and practical education,” Dr. Jabbra adds.

Provost Sfeir, who came up with the idea for the school four years ago, spearheaded the initiative last year. The school is now fully recognized by the Lebanese government, and an amendment to LAU’s charter by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York is in progress.

Acting dean is an addition to an already long list of positions Badr has held at LAU. Read more.

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The new school groups architecture, interior design, graphic design and fine arts programs under one roof.


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