For a long time, the Department of Communication Arts represented a flagship program at LAU and one of the most venerable communication programs in Lebanon and the region. However, the rapid growth in competing Lebanese and regional communication programs in the past 20 years, radical changes in the media industries and communication technologies, and internal problems, curricular stagnation, and lack of direction today pose significant challenges to the department’s historical position.
This position of national leadership and regional preeminence can be regained in three to four years and ultimately extended to achieve global influence in five to six years.
This ambitious vision could be achieved by:
(1) leveraging our 50-year-old legacy in the region
(2) building upon the unique American liberal arts model
(3) capitalizing on Lebanon’s liberal and free environment, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, and rich artistic and media heritage
(4) creating innovative, nimble and encompassing communication curricula that balance theory, practice, research and critical education and are benchmarked against international accreditation standards
(5) advancing excellence in research, teaching, and creative practice
(6) renovating and updating facilities, building additional state-of-the-art labs, and acquiring cutting edge production technologies
(7) instilling a sense of departmental cohesion and community enshrined with commitment, duty, accountability and a strong work ethic
(8) building current faculty and staff capacities and hiring top-notch academics and researchers
(9) proactively fund raising and promoting, streamlining internal and external communication, creating a strong brand and visual identity, and strengthening relationship with the communication industry and community
(10) and directing aspirations towards reinventing the future of Lebanese and Arab media and communication.
This plan envisions a world-class communication program that serves as the center for media and communication education and research in Lebanon and the region.
By expanding the offering of media degrees to span several specialties at the undergraduate and graduate levels and strengthening international education, this program strives to graduate:
(1) communication professionals and artists who join the industry as leaders and innovators, elevate its critical discourse, and reinvent its future
(2) media educators and scholars who generate high caliber scientific research and advance the discipline of communication and media studies in the region
(3) and civically engaged global citizens committed to high ethical standards, critical inquiry, freedom of expression, gender equality, and social justice.
Finally, the plan envisions an efficiently functioning department and a collegial environment that empowers all its members, promotes innovation in teaching and curricular development, advances scholarship and creative communicative output, and encourages collaboration internally and externally through the establishment of academic centers, professional institutions, academic associations, and creative projects focused on serving the department’s mission.
This ambitious vision can be accomplished in three stages:
Stage 1. University Flagship and National Leadership (2017-2018): Stage one requires two years to regain the status of a flagship program on campus and establish national leadership; the scope of the first year in stage one is internal (LAU), while the scope of the second year in stage one extends nationally. This stage focuses on establishing a direction and strategic plan, fixing internal problems, instilling accountability and rigor, streamlining processes, building faculty and staff capacities, promoting cohesion and collaboration, hiring new faculty and staff, renovating and building facilities and acquiring equipment, updating undergraduate programs, initiating ventures into graduate (MA-level) education, initiating fundraising, building a strong internal communication and promotion system, marketing internally (1st year) then nationally (2nd year), increasing enrollment from within (1st year) then nationally (2nd year), initiating international education programs and national academic associations, and building institutions and projects that cater to these priorities. This stage requires the most intensive amount of capital, effort, and time investment.
Stage 2. Regional Preeminence (2019-2020): Stage two entails two years to accomplish regional preeminence. It focuses on initiating accreditation, strengthening and expanding graduate (MA-level) programs, instilling a strong brand and visual identity, marketing regionally, extending the reach of research institutions, associations, centers and projects to attract regional faculty, students, and institutions, developing agreements with regional institutions, and producing high-impact research and award-winning communicative art. This stage capitalizes on the 50th anniversary of the communication arts at LAU (2020) to achieve regional exposure and attract significant funding and endowments.
Stage 3. Global Influence (2021-2022): Stage three requires two years to reach global influence. Stage three focuses on promoting internationally, achieving international accreditation, accomplishing a respectful international ranking, exploring doctoral education, and venturing into major projects of regional and international scope and impact.