Arabia Higher Education

  • Pharm.D. program gains renewed accreditation

    acpe reaccreditation 2015 01 180“This is a great testimony to the hard work and dedication of the School of Pharmacy’s dean, faculty, staff and students. Their passion for continued and unparalleled excellence in the Pharm.D. program have paid off handsomely,” said LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra of the news that the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) had extended the university’s Doctor of Pharmacy program’s accreditation for another eight years.

    The ACPE is the only agency in the U.S. that offers accreditation to Pharm.D. programs and LAU’s School of Pharmacy (SOP) first gained accreditation — which will be extended for another eight years this coming June — in 2002.

    “The process was long and challenging. In addition to the comprehensive on-site review of the ACPE visiting team in the fall, we had for two years been preparing a self-study report,” explains Imad Btaiche, interim dean of the SOP. “ACPE standards are comprehensive. Each one addresses a part of the program and the school. Producing the report required a great deal of coordination and data collection, focusing on students, faculty, assessment, curriculum, practice experiences, facilities and finance,” he adds.


    As a guarantor of quality, accreditation affords LAU’s graduates opportunities to work in the best hospitals in the U.S. “I have been working very hard to ensure my place in the Pharm.D. program,” says fourth year pharmacy student Vikan Aznavorian. While there are 75 students enrolled in each of the five years that make up the B.S. in Pharmacy curriculum, only 30 are accepted annually to the Pharm.D. program, which requires an additional sixth year of study.

    Aznavorian is confident and determined, however. Spending half of his final year learning at a hospital in Texas is only a part of the appeal of the LAU program. “I intend to spend my residency in the States, so graduating from a U.S. accredited program with experience at a hospital in that country will give me a huge advantage.”

    Pharm.D. student Alexandra Abi Saleh has just returned from Texas, where she and other sixth year students spent a semester completing core courses at the Houston Methodist Hospital. “Educationally it was great,” she enthuses. “I was exposed to a lot and we learned and had hands on experience in every aspect of clinical pharmacy, including in-patient and out-patient care and in the E.R.”

    The affiliation with the Methodist Hospital is one of many factors that ensured continuation of the LAU program’s accreditation, says Btaiche. “It has been an asset of quality to our students. Pharmacy is a practice-based profession, so you have to provide them with good sites for their practice so they will be well-prepared.”

    While very pleased with the renewed accreditation, Btaiche sees it as a springboard for further program development. “We now intend to focus on faculty research productivity, possibly expanding into graduate programs for pharmaceutical education,” he says. “We also hope to further develop the clinical practice model at our own university hospital, to enable greater cooperation alongside other medical professionals in the interest of patient care.”

  • Standing Still: A Global Perspective on the¬†Performance of Universities in the¬†Arab Region

    2014 World University Rankings Worrying evidence of US declineBy Haidar Harmanani, Professor of Computer Science, Lebanese American University, Lebanon

    “Standing still is not an option” says Phil Baty while introducing the 13th edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17. Yet, that is exactly what the majority of universities in the Arab region are doing: standing still!

    With the exception of a couple of universities, the Arab region generally performed poorly in this year’s rankings. Although a total of 28 universities made the list, no University in the region made the top 200 elite list.

    Saudi Arabia claimed the top two positions and was led by King Abdulaziz University who moved up to 201-500 from the 251-300 position last year, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals who moved up to 401-500 from the 501-600 position.

    Other universities whose performance was disappointing this year include the American University of Beirut, King Saud University, Qatar University, and United Arab Emirates University who did not show improvements in their respective rankings this year, and are still at the 501-600 position.


    Part of the decline may be attributed to the expansion of the rankings this year. For the first time, 980 institutions have been included, up from 801 in last year’s list, making it the most competitive ranking to date, according to THE.

    The expansion of rankings has also led to doubling the number of ranked institutions, from 14 to 28. At the national level, Egypt led the pack with a total of eight ranked universities, followed by Saudi Arabia (4), Jordan (3), United Arab Emirates (3), and Tunisia (2).  Only one university made it from Algeria, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman. Perhaps, Lebanon’s performance is the most disappointing with only one University making the list.

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016 lists 980 institutions from 79 countries. The rankings drew on data from 1,313 of the world’s leading research-intensive universities, 20,000 responses to the annual academic reputation surveys, and 56 million citations to 11.9 million publications published over the five years to 2015.

    The new rankings enhanced the analysis this time by including books among the research outputs in addition to journal articles, reviews and conference proceedings. Some 528,000 books and book chapters are included for the first time, giving a richer picture of the global research environment.

    The data was audited for the first time by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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