Holy Spirit University of Kaslik: Enriching Learning Experiences

Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik

Noble values provide a moral compass for students, guiding them in making ethical decisions. When students are exposed to and encouraged to practice these values, they become more capable of making choices that uphold ethical standards, both in their personal lives and professional careers.

Educational institutions play a crucial role in shaping the character, values, and ethical framework of students. Educational institutions are not just responsible for imparting academic knowledge but also for nurturing students’ character. By instilling noble values such as honesty, integrity, respect, and empathy, institutions help students develop into responsible and compassionate individuals who contribute positively to society.

Entrenched in its mission to provide access to higher education (HE) and excellence in Teaching and Learning, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) has been striving to maintain its values since the early 19th century, as a Lebanese non-profit private Catholic university founded by the Lebanese Maronite Order. The main campus is located along the coast of Mount Lebanon with an exceptional exposure to the Mediterranean Sea.

Fostering Quality Education

Situated in a region characterized by pluralism and cultural diversity, USEK is distinguished by offering faith-based educational development in various fields of study on levels ranging from undergraduate to graduate and postgraduate, in addition to continuing education courses.

Defined by its multicultural awareness and inclusiveness, USEK is committed to life-long learning and to fostering quality education for all. With this foundation, USEK has progressed through a long journey of accreditation and recognition on the institutional, programmatic, and student services levels.

The commitment to academic excellence and continuous improvement is evidenced in the culture of continuous assessment and improvement aiming at aligning the academic programs to the highest standards in HE.

Since 2012, the University has been engaged in international accreditation. On the institutional level, USEK has attained European accreditation by Evalag since 2012 and is currently engaged in the U.S. regional accreditation process with the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE).

On the level of program accreditation, USEK has, to date, the highest number of accredited programs among Lebanese HE institutions: 12 Engineering, Computing and Science programs accredited by ABET, the Architecture program holding the NAAB International Certification, the Medical program accredited by TEPDAD, and 8 Humanities and Social Sciences programs accredited by Evalag. Other programs are still under review for accreditation, including the Business programs with the AACSB.

Fostering an Innovative Culture

In the same spirit, USEK fosters a culture of excellence in teaching, learning, and research through multiple resources such as the Learning and Teaching Excellence Center and the Higher Center for Research.

USEK also supports innovation and entrepreneurship through the Asher Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that aims at empowering youth and Lebanese individuals, giving voice to their bright ideas, connecting them with like-minded people, providing the right expertise and knowledge to enable new ventures, and inspiring future leaders in Lebanon.

Unique Programs of USEK

On the bachelor level, USEK offers a unique program in Conservation, Restoration of Cultural Properties, and Sacred Art, in collaboration with the University of Urbino in Italy, and hosts one of the oldest Music programs in the country. Also, the Engineering Diploma in Agricultural Engineering is one of the very few ABET-accredited programs in the field of agriculture in the world.

On the master level, USEK offers multiple dual-degree programs with renowned universities around the world, namely HEC Montréal, Université Panthéon-ASSAS Paris II, Université de Poitiers, Université Technologique de Compiègne (UTC), McKinney School of Law – Indiana University, and Université de Montpellier. Some distinctive master programs include the MA in Contemporary Art, the MA in Diplomacy and International Security, and the MS in Enology, in addition to the newly established MA in Drama Therapy.

Professional engineers are also engaged in teaching such as in the case of the collaboration between the School of Engineering and Growth Technology, aiming at reshaping Tech education. In this frame, exclusive internships tailored in the scope of a specialized GT Artificial Intelligence track are delivered to empower students to become the next generation of tech innovators and equip them with all the skills required by the AI job market.

Moreover, the University hosts the only Pontifical School in the Middle East which welcomes seminarians from different countries in the world pursuing their degrees in Theology.

Education for All

Diversity and inclusion are part of the USEK identity. The University promotes equal access opportunities to education and employment, by prohibiting discrimination based on race, colour, religion, gender, age, origin, family status, and physical or mental disability.

Accordingly, the University adopted a Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement (JDEI) in 2021 and enacted a Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy in 2022 to create an inclusive and safer campus for all community members.

Moreover, USEK offers scholarships and financial aid services through which more than 60 percent of students benefit from support in the settlement of tuition fees.

Modernization of Education

Technology is a crucial aspect of modernizing education and preparing students for the digital age. USEK adopted various strategies to integrate technology effectively, through:

  • A learning management system as a centralized hub for course delivery;
  • The blended learning model to promote active learning and cater to different learning styles;
  • Virtual laboratory experiences and simulations;
  • Collaborative tools and communication platforms to foster collaboration among students and instructors.

Overall, the benefits include improved access to educational resources, enhanced student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and the development of digital literacy skills.

Enriching On-Campus Experience

USEK nurtures an environment wherein all students can thrive, innovate, and be heard. Students can enrich their on-campus experience through various channels, in particular:

  • Student Chapters: Fostering student connections on the global stage. The current student chapters affiliated with internationally recognized associations include the AIAS, AICHE, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, IEEE – EMBS, IEEE – PES, and RDCL.
  • The Sports Department: Supporting various sports teams by embracing their talent, offering them weekly training, and providing everything they need to win local and international championships.
  • The USEK Talent Program: Aiming at highlighting the musical abilities of USEK students and giving each talent the opportunity to shine. All talented profiles can partake in this initiative with the possibility of benefiting from a scholarship.

Enhancing Lebanese Education and preserving the Lebanese heritage

USEK has played a pioneering role in the development of the HE sectors in Lebanon. It has led three Erasmus+ projects, namely e-Taleb, Lebpass, and Steer-Leb, with an aim to advance quality in Lebanese Higher Education Institutions and improve students’ experience. USEK is also an active member of the Association of Arab Universities and has numerous collaborations with universities, governments, associations, and individuals in the Middle East.

The university is also renowned for its role in the preservation of the cultural heritage through different units and projects, such as the three centers within its Library, the BA in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, and the projects that aim at preserving the Lebanese heritage.

Testimonies of Excellence

USEK has a notable list of alumni in various fields, namely:

Antoine Chaaya, who studied at the School of Architecture and Design. Chaaya is a renowned architect who has made a significant impact on the industry. Partner at Renzo Piano Buildings in Paris, New York , and Rome, his works are admired for their innovative and sustainable designs that blend functionality with aesthetic appeal.

Georges Khabbaz, who studied at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Khabbaz is a famous Lebanese actor, director, and playwright whose work has been acclaimed internationally. His contribution to the arts field has earned him numerous awards.

Walid Abboud, who pursued a degree in Philosophy. He has gone on to become a prominent journalist in Lebanon and has held various TV programs.

The success of USEK alumni is a showcase of the University’s mission to be a beacon of education, which has played a significant role in shaping the careers of the rising generations.

As for achievements, USEK is proud of the rankings it has achieved so far, in particular:

  • UI GreenMetric: USEK has ranked 1st Green University in Lebanon and in the top 10 ‘Greenest’ universities in the MENA region.
  • SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR):  USEK has ranked 2nd best university in Lebanon, with its Business School (UBS) ranking as 1st.
  • QS World University Rankings (2020):  USEK has ranked among the top 5 best universities in Lebanon and the top 30 in the Arab Region.

Paving a Path of Educational Excellence

According to USEK, becoming a prestigious university is a continuous journey that requires a long-term commitment, strategic planning, and adaptability. To become prestigious and maintain a high level of academic excellence, universities have to:

  • foster a culture of excellence by creating an environment that values academic rigor, critical thinking, and intellectual curiosity;
  • recruit and retain top talent;
  • enhance research opportunities;
  • prioritize student success;
  • build a diverse, inclusive and welcoming campus environment that celebrates diversity;
  • establish strategic partnerships;
  • continuously embrace a culture of continuous improvement and innovation;
  • enhance institutional reputation by actively managing the University’s brand; and finally,
  • adapt to the changing landscape.

Special Efforts for Special Students

USEK is committed to preparing future leaders for innovation and fostering the professional growth of its students. Thus, students are exposed to different opportunities that help them successfully integrate with the job market, such as courses from the General Education program (e.g., Career Management), internships and training sessions such as the ones in collaboration with BEAM Consolidated-Modula, where students are trained to use the latest technologies in the construction sector that allow them to minimize construction waste.

Furthermore, USEK maintains tight connections with professionals from different socio-economic fields who participate in academic program reviews, offer internship and employment opportunities, and collaborate in research and innovation projects.

USEK also has international collaborations and partnerships with more than 100 international agreements and around 40 memberships in national and international organizations, all in the benefit of its students.

Additionally, the Career Services Office helps students in their career choices by planning their professional and personal success.

In September 2021, USEK established its Access Office that helps provide students with special developmental needs and learning difficulties with equal access to the university’s academic, social, and recreational activities and programs. The office is working with students, faculty, and staff to implement services that remove or minimize barriers to participation in a well-rounded student experience.

Service to society

USEK takes pride in its tight connection with its surrounding society. Adopting service to society as part of its core values, USEK was committed, throughout its history, to fulfilling the needs of human beings and supporting their welfare.

Commitment to sustainability

In 2021, USEK decided to launch a master plan aligned with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UN-SDGs), focusing on 4 main pillars: Education, Research, Campus Life, and Awareness. As a result, USEK ranked according to the Impact Rankings 1st for SDG 1 – No Poverty, Joint-1st for SDG 10 – Reduced Inequality, and 2nd for SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy.

In Fall 2022, a new General Education framework that covers the UN-SDGs was launched. It helps students become eco-citizens of the future.

In addition, the Green Committee offers around 600 students per semester opportunities to build their capacities in civic engagement and ‘green’ projects.

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