Dr. Caesar Abi Shdid, Associate Professor/Chair of Department of Civil Engineering
The focus has been on motivating the faculty.
Maintaining a work-life balance is always a challenge, even in conventional times. I believe an important first step is to acknowledge that the working climate has changed – work hours are blurred, and so it is important to prioritize what is ultimately important to me so that I can “do it all.”
Keeping students motivated during this time is not an issue – the declining situation in Lebanon is in itself enough motivation for them to work hard toward graduation and the subsequent start of their careers. However, the challenge I face, particularly as department chairperson, is motivating my faculty. They have had to transition from traditional teaching methods to online platforms in a short period of time, they are negatively impacted by the economic crisis and they are concerned for the health and safety of their families. Therefore, supporting and motivating them has become my focus, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain strong, research-driven faculty in this climate where financial incentives are the necessary reprieve for struggling faculty.
LAU is not immune to the unfolding financial and economic meltdown in Lebanon. The currency devaluation has certainly impacted its ability to quickly acquire the needed equipment, tools, materials, supplies, and software that are so essential to conducting high-impact engineering research. This has resulted in delays to ongoing research projects – on which hinges the graduation of many of our graduate students.