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Alan Shihadeh appointed Dean of Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture
9/7/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
President of AUB, Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri, announced the appointment of Dr. Alan Shihadeh as Dean of the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (SFEA).  Dr. Shihadeh, who served as Interim Dean of SFEA during the 2016-17 academic year, immediately assumed his duties in heading AUB’s second largest faculty, the recipient of the largest gift in AUB’s history, donated by the late Maroun Semaan.

In a message to the AUB community, President Khuri highlighted the new dean’s academic and professional achievements, as well as his vision and contributions to the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. “Dr. Shihadeh has built consensus for an inspiring vision of a faculty whose primary concern is human well-being,” he wrote. 

Dr. Shihadeh earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate in sciences in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the field of combustion in 1998. He taught at Birzeit University before joining AUB as an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering.  

At AUB, he conducted a systematic study of emissions from waterpipe tobacco smoking, the first in a series of ground-breaking studies on the chemistry, human behavior, and health effects of the practice. Evidence produced by what became the AUB Aerosol Research Laboratory (ARL) – now a leading center that develops and exports scientific instruments to research laboratories in North America, Europe, and the Middle East – led the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue its first International Advisory warning in 2005, compelling regional and international governments to include waterpipes in tobacco control efforts. 

“I am truly humbled by President Khuri’s message and I look forward to working with him and the senior leadership of the University to make AUB ever more relevant to the world it inhabits, and the world we would like to have,” Dr. Shihadeh told us. “I am also humbled by the outpouring of support from our faculty, staff, and students – some from former students I haven’t seen in years.”

Dr. Shihadeh serves as an advisor to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a scientific expert to the World Health Organization (WHO), and a Project Director and Executive Leadership Committee member of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a member of the Air Quality Research Unit, an AUB-Saint Joseph University collaboration, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Research in Toxicology journal. He co-directs the Collaborative for Inhaled and Atmospheric Aerosols and the Tobacco Control Research Group at AUB, and sits on the Tobacco-Free AUB 2018 Task Force.

Recognizing the great responsibility that SFEA accepts every year as it enrolls several hundreds of the region’s brightest and most driven students, Professor Shihadeh believes that the kinds of values and experiences emphasized in the curriculum, in the research lab, and in relations established at SFEA are life lessons that can nurture “a more democratic society”, “a society that cares more about people,” and “a culture that stresses our common humanity.”
 
“At SFEA in the coming years, we aim to graduate students who are not only superbly competent in their areas of expertise, but who also appreciate that there are limitations, consequences, and values embedded in that very expertise – to ask not only the ‘how’ questions but also the ‘why’ and ‘to what ends?’” Dr. Shihadeh told us. “We aim to graduate students who are confident enough to stick out their necks for the common good and articulate enough to do it in a convincing manner.”  

Dr. Shihadeh is author or co-author of more than 100 refereed journal publications, reports, and conference abstracts, primarily concerned with the chemistry, physics, and exposure science of particle pollutants. His teams have been sponsored by top US and Lebanese research organizations including the largest grant on record at AUB.   

Dr. Shihadeh will continue to lead with his vision for SFEA within AUB’s mission. He shared with us some of the goals and initiatives he has planned for the Faculty as an American liberal education model, including making tech-entrepreneurship a viable alternative to seeking employment in companies, and establishing research programs that leverage  local and regional problems for inspiration. 

His vision aims “to transform SFEA into a dynamically integrated organization that seeks to produce knowledge and alumni that will make lasting contributions to the development of participatory innovation cultures across Lebanon and the Arab region.” Building on SFEA’s historical strengths, regional realities, and global challenges, his vision recognizes that the Faculty must “remain relevant to future students and their societies, and true to its long-standing promise to serve humanity.”

“Dr. Shihadeh was selected for his vision, his energy, his accomplishments, but also his deeply ingrained passion and conscience to make a difference for our students, faculty, staff, and for the world at large,” said President Khuri. “In the final analysis, we are fortunate to have selected and signed a visionary dean for this essential and remarkably accomplished Faculty.”​
Story Highlights
  • ​​​President of AUB, Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri, announced the appointment of Dr. Alan Shihadeh as Dean of the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (SFEA).
  • Dr. Shihadeh, who served as Interim Dean of SFEA during the 2016-17 academic year, immediately assumed his duties in heading AUB’s second largest faculty, the recipient of the largest gift in AUB’s history, donated by the late Maroun Semaan.​
 
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