From the Editors
 AUB News
  Women and AUB
 The Elements of Design
  Developing Technologies
  The Roots Run Deep
  CAMS: Fast Track to Prominence
  Avenue of Exchange
  Campaign Update
  Alumni Profile
 Alumni Activities
 Class Notes
 In Memoriam
  Credits
  Previous Issues
 


Women and AUB
A Pioneer Spirit

In his Opening Ceremony speech, President John Waterbury outlined the important role women have played at AUB and the University’s commitment to coeducation and a diverse workplace. MainGate reviews the evolution of coeducation at the University and introduces some women who are making AUB what it is today.

President Waterbury paid tribute to the important role of women at AUB in last October’s Opening Ceremony address: “It is. . .and will remain my
policy,” he declared, “to increase the number of women in our student body, in our faculty ranks, and in our senior administration.” Today, out of 468 full-time AUB faculty members, 160—less than half—are women. Yet, in terms of accepting women students, AUB was a pioneer: “While many North American institutions [such as Harvard and the University of Virginia] agonized for years over the introduction of coeducation,” the president said, “AUB took the decision calmly and resolutely [in 1921] and never looked back.” Nevertheless, it has taken most of the last 100 years to bring women teachers and students up to the significant numbers of 2003.

The very first women to graduate were three nurses in 1908. In 1926 President Bayard Dodge’s efforts to admit women into fields of study other than nursing were successful. The Medical School class of 1931 included Dr. Adma Ilyas Abu Shadid, the first woman to receive a medical degree from AUB. She established a clinic of her own in Beirut and worked in the Department of Obstetrics in the university hospital.

Women broke into other fields of study in 1925 and 1926 in the now discontinued programs of pharmacy and dentistry respectively. Women first earned degrees in Arts and Sciences in 1926 and the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences in 1966. By then, the only AUB faculty without women graduates was engineering, but this
barrier was broken when a woman engineer received her diploma in 1971. PhD degrees were granted to women in medicine in 1972 and in Arabic literature in 1973.

Female employees at AUB first gained entrance through nursing, the library, the School of Music, and the time-honored job of secretary. Eleanor Blish (BS) worked as a technician in biological chemistry in the early 1930s, when student enrollment was about 558. During the same period 18 “other members of staff” were women.

Elsie Stanch was the president’s secretary at that time, and Jane Elizabeth Van Zandt, principal of the School of Nursing, is listed as “Officer of Instruction” in the 1931-32 catalogue. Women teachers and students at AUB continued to gain influence as the University grew. Mary Robinson, possessor of both BA and MA degrees from AUB, served as dean of women from 1959 to 1969.

Noting that 48 percent of AUB students are women, Dr. Waterbury said the University’s progress in faculty and senior administrative appointments has not been as impressive. At present there are13 female full professors out of a total of 118, or 11 percent; 27 associate professors out of 135, or 20 percent, and 55 assistant professors out of 130, or 42 percent. Dr. Huda Zurayk of the Faculty
of Health Sciences stands out as the only female dean; 13 women are senior managers in the university administration.
During the Opening Ceremony, the president honored women full professors, administrators, and trustees in the audience by asking them to rise as he read out their names. He then paid tribute to Lebanese Donna Shalala, former secretary of education in the US and currently president of the University of Miami, as epitomizing the spirit and courage of all Lebanese women. . . and men. President Waterbury concluded by saying, “My hope is that one day not only will women be on a completely equal footing with men at AUB, but that we won’t even notice and won’t really care.”

The following profiles are a small sampling of the many fine women who make AUB what it is today:

Expanding Horizons
Leila Badre
Dr. Leila Badre found a special place for herself at the AUB Museum when she became director in 1975. Founded in 1869, the museum already had a good collection of artifacts and it was her ambition to enhance its assets.

Badre’s first effort was to bring life into the institution. In 1979 she founded the Society of the Friends of the Museum, an organization that has promoted archaeological activities and helped stir interest in Lebanon’s past. The society organizes lectures, exhibitions, trips to famous sites, and children’s programs, and publishes a newsletter. Such programs promote continuous contact with stimulating people in the field of history and archaeology. “This is what we get the most comments about,” says Badre. “People want to expand their horizons.” She is now overseeing the museum’s renovation that is designed to
better showcase its collections.
Leila Badre earned her BA in ancient history and MA in archaeology from AUB in 1965 and 1968 respectively. She was awarded a doctorate with honors from the Sorbonne, and her PhD thesis, entitled, “Les figurines anthropomorphes en terre cuite l ‘Age du Bronze en Syrie,” was published in Paris in 1980. Throughout her career she has taken part in and directed 11 excavations in Lebanon, Syria, Dubai, and Yemen, participated in many international conferences, and published nearly 50 articles in international
scientific periodicals.


A Commitment to the Environment
Karma Ekmekji (expected BS ’04)
“We live in an area where water resources are a source of conflicts,” explains Karma Ekmekji (expected BS ’04). “While raising social awareness of the environment and water issues is important, increasing political awareness
of these issues is crucial.” An environmental health major, Ekmekji speaks with passion and authority on
the hot topic of water resources—much like the environmental lawyer she aspires to be. “I like the legal aspects of environmental issues and want to craft policy on water resource policy,” she says. “Environmental law is one that can be applied globally, which makes it so appealing to me.”

Outside of the classroom Ekmekji is equally active. She participated in a UNESCO conference in Holland on international water resources management and conflict resolution in November. This summer she is accepted for a 10-week internship at the Environmental Defense Fund in New York City. She believes these experiences in
addition to her coursework will prepare her for a career
in environmental law by providing an opportunity to introduce her to international professionals in the field and to see policy-making in action.

Ekmekji wishes more students took an interest in environmental health and policy and encourages them to explore the major. “The environment is our future and people take it for granted. If you cannot clearly breathe the air, what’s the point? Maintaining a healthy environment is just as important as ensuring stable political and economic systems.”

Ekmekji’s passion for the environment is rivaled by her commitment to AUB. As a fourth generation AUBite, she is active in student affairs and serves as secretary on the University Student Faculty Committee (USFC), which is chaired by President Waterbury. “USFC tackles student issues at the university level,” she explains. “We assist in setting budgets for student activities and allocating money for different student needs, in addition to dealing with crucial student issues.” While she may leave Lebanon for law school, Ekmekji speaks warmly of her AUB experience. “I love AUB and Lebanon,” she says smiling. “I belong here.”

She is clear about her plans after law school, “Lebanon’s environmental laws need adjustment and I intend to return here to work.” Ekmekji is one resource that Lebanon—and the environment—need.



Designing Woman

Leila Musfy
Professor Leila Musfy, director of the Graphic Design Program in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, looks every bit the artist she is. Dressed in warm brown tones in mixed fabrics, highlighted by a striking amber pendant, she stresses that being a woman has never interfered with her work as either educator or graphic designer. In fact, she finds both advantages and disadvantages to being a minority female on the faculty. Musfy points out that she always received full support from her family in her professional career, even when others questioned her parents’ liberal attitude.

When AUB’s Fine Arts department closed in 1975 she moved to the US, where after obtaining her BFA and MFA in design, she worked for a number of years before returning to Lebanon to become coordinator of the Advertising Program at the Beirut College for Women. In 1992, she joined AUB as assistant professor and coordinator of the Graphic Design Program. Rapidly moving through the ranks, she was appointed full professor in the spring of 2002.
Musfy, who has a well-developed philosophy of design and education, teaches typography, packaging, publication, and exhibit design. “Graphic design has to function within the constraints of the client through a problem solving process, modern technology, and deadlines,” she says. “It also has to preserve a sense of precision and order with an effective and aesthetic visual impact.” For Musfy, graphic design is part of culture. “It exists in history, heritage, tradition, values, and language.”

 

Giving Nursing a Boost
Selwa Makarem
“I came from a traditional family,” explains former School of Nursing Director Selwa Makarem. “At that time, girls were not expected to continue with schooling after high school.” Makarem credits a talk that her mentor, AUB Professor Waddah Shaya, had with her parents which persuaded them to continue her education. Like Professor Shaya, she has proven to be a kind and determined mentor to AUB nursing students.

Makarem returned to AUB in 1993 after studying and teaching for 20 years in California and New York. “It took me three years to make the decision,” she explains. “I wanted to return as a full tenured professor. Ultimately I knew it was time to give my time to AUB and Lebanon.”

In her 10 years as School of Nursing director until January 2003, Makarem was busy
raising the profile of AUB nursing students, revitalizing the Nursing Chapter, organizing international conferences on campus, revamping the curriculum, consulting hospitals and nursing programs throughout the Middle East, encouraging greater faculty involvement with students, and promoting the recognition of AUB nurses as the best in the region. “It is a very demanding profession,” she affirms. “Nurses are not as recognized as they should and deserve much praise.” Makarem believes nurses should explore careers outside the hospital, such as teaching, research, and administration, but points out the crucial role clinical nurses play. “Spending 24 hours with a patient,
evaluating and assessing them requires decisiveness.” Likewise, Makaram has played a decisive role in advancing nursing at AUB.



Keeper of Knowledge
University Librarian Helen Bikhazi
“Our goals are AUB’s,” explains University Librarian Helen Bikhazi (BA ’66). “We support the academic programs by continuing to build and preserve collections, enhance our services, introduce new technologies, and develop our human resources to reach optimal performance to meet future needs.”

Bikhazi supervises the total University Library system, which includes Jafet Memorial Library and two branches in Engineering and Architecture, and Science and Agriculture. After graduation she joined Jafet as an assistant cataloger. This led her to pursue an MLS at the College of Aberystwyth in Wales. In 1970 she was appointed acquisitions librarian, then acting university librarian in 1980, and finally university librarian in 1987.

As scholarship expands and technologies change, Bikhazi sees that the university libraries keep pace. “The libraries have grown with the expansion of academic programs,” she explains. “Our current collection comprises over 570,000 volumes, 2600 print periodicals, 4400 electronic titles remotely accessible, and a valuable collection of archives and manuscripts.” A new Information Services Department has been recently created to develop customized course-integrated research sessions to train students on utilizing electronic resources. “We are also continually reengineering our internal business processes by applying international standards,” adds Bikhazi.

Bikhazi believes that knowledge is power. “At AUB women receive an education that sets them apart,” she considers. “I support President Waterbury’s concern with women’s professional development,” she says, noting that women head all library departments except two. “Lebanon and AUB can play a crucial role in encouraging more young women to opt for majors that prepare them for decision-making roles.”

 

 


Teaching Teachers in Lebanon
Marjorie Henningsen
“My experiences with Lebanese schools have been both enjoyable and fascinating,” says assistant professor of mathematics education Marjorie Henningsen. “The enthusiasm and eagerness to learn among teachers—in urban and rural schools—helped me decide to come to AUB.”

Henningsen has been a fixture in classrooms at AUB and in elementary schools throughout Lebanon since arriving in 2000 with her EdD in mathematics education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is
co-director of the Mathematics Education Reform for All in Lebanon (MARAL), a research and development project at AUB aimed at studying and supporting mathematics classroom instruction in
public and private elementary schools. “MARAL is about seeing firsthand what is happening in classrooms, what students are learning, and helping teachers achieve their goals,” she explains.

Henningsen and co-director Samar Zebian, assistant professor of psychology, are studying the extent that high-level thinking, reasoning, and communication occurs in the new Lebanese curriculum, as well as determining the culturally specific ways educational goals are achieved in Lebanon as opposed to other countries. MARAL entails many hours of classroom observation, some of which is videotaped, to compile a large database that will be used to design appropriate professional development tools for teachers and to help students fully realize the new curriculum’s potential. “It will be one of its kind in Lebanon,” explains Henningsen. The team received a boost for MARAL from a Hewlett Foundation research leave grant this fall.

“AUB students are hardworking and take challenges,” she says smiling. “They challenge me too, which definitely keeps things interesting.” Daily life in Beirut captivates Henningsen. “I love my walks to and from campus, greeting familiar faces, shopping in the neighborhood.” A side perk has been her adventures in the Middle East that she shares with family and friends in the US: “I sometimes feel a desperate need to give a different image of Lebanon than the negative one reinforced by media in the States.”


Making AUB the Place for Middle Eastern Studies
Nadia El-Cheikh
“Given the high profile of the Middle East today more graduate students are coming straight to ‘the source’ to study,” says Nadia
El-Cheikh, director of AUB’s interdisciplinary Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES). In the 2002-03 academic year, CAMES had the highest enrollment of any graduate program in the humanities, with a mix of graduate students and associates hailing from Lebanon, the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan. “As the field of Middle East Studies gains more popularity and interest, we expect these numbers to rise.”

El-Cheikh became acting director of the Center in 2000 and director in 2002. She and her associates have revitalized the graduate curriculum and Summer Arabic Program as well as launched a compelling lecture series with local and international scholars. El-Cheikh envisions CAMES as a resource for scholars in the field. “Many European and US colleagues wish they had access to AUB’s Near Eastern Studies resources. I encourage them to come for research or a sabbatical.”

El-Cheikh is a busy scholar whose current research focuses on aspects of Arab-Byzantine mutual perception and interaction. She is working on a book, Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs, which covers the early Islamic era until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. She is also investigating the condition and perception of women during the Abbasid period. “I am
particularly concentrating on adab compilations to gather information on women’s lives, their behavior and status, and the perception of their roles,” she explains.

It is not surprising El-Cheikh has strong thoughts on women in academia. “What is true of AUB is true in every university in the world. Typically women hold the lower positions in the administration and on the faculty, are paid less, and perform ‘domestic labor’ by serving on committees that have little power.” El-Cheikh is encouraging the creation of a women’s studies program at AUB. “These are common in US institutions,” she says emphatically. “The good news is serious discussions are underway.”

 

Advancing Medicine
Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan
Professor of medicine at AUB, Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan (MD ’83) founded the Calcium Metabolism and Osteoporosis Program in 1997, which she has directed since its inception.

A distinguished physician, El-Hajj Fuleihan completed a residency in internal medicine,
a fellowship in endocrinology, and a sub-specialty in calcium and bone metabolism at Harvard Medical School. She also obtained a master’s degree in public health in clinical effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health. At Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, she directed the Calcium Metabolism Clinical Research Unit for nine years, until she moved back to AUB in 1997.
Her major research interests include metabolic bone disorders, women’s health issues, and densitometry applications. She is the leading investigator on protocols evaluating the epidemiology of osteoporosis in Lebanon, determinants of peak bone mass accrual in adolescents, genetics of bone mass inheritance, secondary causes of bone loss, chemotherapy, and transplantation induced bone disease. El-Hajj Fuleihan is also an investigator in several multicenter clinical trials on osteoporosis.

She has published extensively on her topics of interest and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society, and is the recipient of both the National Institutes of Health Clinical Associate Physician and Harvard-Sandoz Scholar in Medicine awards. El-Hajj Fuleihan currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry, the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Densitometry, and the Professional Practice Committee of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research.


Personnel Matters
Claire Uwayjan
Director of Personnel Claire Yacoub Uwayjan has a lengthy affiliation with AUB. “I was born at AUH, grew up 100 meters from campus, graduated in 1967 from BCW, and spent my professional life at AUB. I do not know much else except AUB.”

After graduation she had no plans to work and was considering graduate school but
followed up on an open position in personnel on a tip from a friend. “At first I said I don’t want to be a secretary because I cannot type,” she says laughing. She was then told that AUB wanted a college graduate for the vacant position, which entailed taking care of non-academic employees, preparing contracts and payrolls, and training in personnel management. Uwayjan decided to try it out and has remained since—rising in the ranks to director in 1987.

She modestly describes her work at AUB as overseeing university human resources (HR). She speaks with pride of her service during the civil war. “From 1984 on, Personnel was essentially run by three women, myself, Amal Habib who is now assistant director, and retired Administrative Assistant Nabla Khouri. It was a difficult era but we survived it because of the support from our superiors.” Uwayjan believes her role is to look after the welfare of university personnel in a fair, firm, and consistent manner, while ensuring the best interest of the University is served.

Uwayjan has seen the employment of women grow over the last decades. “I used to be one of the few higher administrators outside AUBMC during the 1970s and 1980s. Now there are more women in positions of authority.” She cites the return of many Lebanese to Beirut and the administration’s encouragement as the main reasons. “Look at any department and you will find the most qualified women working there,” she says. “I can personally guarantee it.”

 

Double Shift as Staff Member and Student
Hind Sarkis
Hind Sarkis, secretary in the Office of Development, is one of the many women who, as part of AUB’s administrative support staff, ensure that daily operations run smoothly. With fine attention to detail and a smile, she arranges schedules, administers the daily office work, handles correspondence, prepares profiles, takes care of reservations and reimbursements—you name it. Despite her busy days, she decided to go back to school and managed to get her BA in public administration in 2000 while working full-time. Sarkis arrived at AUB in 1967 and quickly found employment in the AUBMC. “I came to AUB because I felt it was the most important institution in Lebanon,” she explains. “I wanted to get my undergraduate degree at that time, but due to family obligations I went to work to support my family.” From the hospital she moved to the education department for five years, then to the Division of Education and Extension Programs for another five years, and finally to the Office of Development in 1982.

In 1989 she decided it was time to get from AUB what she wanted in 1967: a bachelor’s degree. “It took me ten years,” she says. “It was very hard working and going to school. Each night was spent studying, with no time for socializing.” She laughs about being a
non-traditional student, saying, “The students always thought I was the teacher on the first day.” She credits the invaluable support of her supervisors, colleagues, professors, and family with helping her get through her studies.

Sarkis says one of the main reasons she went for her BA is for her own self-esteem and satisfaction. “Receiving my diploma, I felt so proud that I actually did it.” When asked if there is a master’s degree in her future Sarkis laughs, “Please! I am so tired now—probably later.”