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Lebanese university reps visit OUS

Mar. 08, 2012 @ 11:35 PM

IRONTON -- The problems of operating a regional college campus can be the same in Ironton as they are in Beirut, Lebanon.

That's why several representatives of Lebanese International University visited the Ohio University-Southern campus in Ironton on Wednesday.

"We have had a relationship with Ohio University since 2004," said Ali Tarabay, vice president for academic affairs at LIU. "We have become very good partners."

"We were established 11 years ago," Tarabay said. "We have become a transnational educator with campuses in Yemen, Mauritania, Senegal and Morocco. We are planning to expand to Iraq and Saudi Arabia."

The private university in Lebanon has eight regional campuses in that country with about 20,000 students and about 3,500 students in other countries, he said. LIU is modeled on the American education system, Tarabay said.

The two universities are looking into faculty and student exchanges and other areas of cooperation, said Samir Abou Nassif, vice president of the LIU Educational Group.

The LIU educators visited several Southern campus programs, including electronic media and nursing, and have invited a professor to visit the university in Lebanon.

"We want them to visit our campus, give us advice and helps us improve and enhance our programs," Nassif said.

"The regional campus system is the same worldwide," said Don Moore, director of electronic media at the Southern campus.

"We have different models, but similar situations," said Bill Willan, Southern campus dean. "This is going to be a relationship that will continue and one we will build on."

A group of LIU students will spend a semester abroad at Ohio University's main campus in Athens. Ohio University has an international studies program and the number of international students at Ohio University has been growing, Willan said.

"The more we can connect, the better we will have done our jobs, which is preparing students to be successful," he said.

A number of classes at LIU are taught in English, Tarabay said. "We hope to have degree programs in English or French," he said.

"English is the international language of business," Nassif said. "Students who speak English have a better chance of getting a job."

One concern about distance learning classes is the time difference. There is a seven-hour time difference between Beirut and Ironton, Nassif said.