Dr. Elias Khalil Associate Dean of Issam Fares Faculty of Technology (IFFT) in UOB

Holder of a PhD in Electronic Engineering from France, and deeply experienced in the field of teaching and research in France, Abidjan, and Tunisia, Dr Elias Khalil established the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology in the University of Balamand in 2010.

What is the value added by Issam Fares Faculty of Technology, University of Balamand, to higher education in Lebanon, especially in the field of technology?

Of value is the Faculty’s whole approach to education, comprising:

  • The careful following up and individual monitoring  of every student
  • The solving of operational problems and a high level of achievement 
  • Twelve weeks of internship for students in companies in Lebanon or abroad, representing among other things a boost to employment opportunities
  • Instruction by expert teachers/researchers in the field of engineering, science and technology
  • Continuous upgrading programs and syllabi of faculty laboratories .

To what extent is the faculty curriculum compatible with the ongoing progress of today’s technological revolution?

The educational philosophy of the Faculty springs from two important principles:

  • The need for higher education in the field of technology, leading to a constant flow of  graduating students skilled in various areas of  the field
  • The importance of practical internship, enabling such graduates to have practical experience in their area of specialism

The Faculty will play a vital role in the ongoing development of this revolution by making possible fluent communication between teacher and student, essential if the flow of graduating students is to be fully skilled and experienced in the many aspects of technology. New and innovative programs and areas of specialization will add professional value to this flow, ensuring that it represents and provides cutting-edge expertise, which in turn will contribute towards the modernization of industry and further productive research. Such dynamic is seldom seen in other universities, many of which resist change and stick to traditional programs.

Does the Faculty offer programs and modern technical systems on a par with those offered by international and local academic institutions in terms of meeting employment needs in Lebanon?

The Faculty of Technology owes its existence to the University of Balamand, its foundation, development and capabilities. The relevant university personnel have done much in the way of opening doors of cooperation with Lebanese companies and enterprises in both the private and public sectors.

At the international level, we have agreements of collaboration with many European universities. These agreements, relating to research, curriculum development and the exchange of experiences, are with the following:

  • University of Paris Sud 11
  • University of Paris Versailles
  • University of Auvergne
  • University of Lorraine
  • Telecom Brest
  • ENIB

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These universities have agreed to provide us with specialists, experts, researchers and professors, to arrange training sessions and seminars for the Faculty’s professors, and to teach students.

A final point to mention is that many students who have graduated from Issam Fares Faculty of Technology are pursuing their Masters’ and PHD studies in eminent European universities, those in France especially.

Does the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology curriculum include technical internship programs and practical training that reflect the new technologies being harnessed today by companies offering employment?

A crucial requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology is comprehensive practical training involving two internships in successful companies in Lebanon and abroad, (France, Germany  and many other countries). Accordingly, 8 students from the mechatronics department will pursue a 2-months internship in France, where the expenses will be fully covered by the MIC  (Mobilite Internationale de Credits) project. This project is a joint project between IFFT and University of Paris-Sacley.

In addition, in the alignment of the agreement between IFFT and BMW-Munich, 2 students from the mechatronics department will pursue a 6-months internship in Germany, where the expenses will be fully covered by BMW-Munich.

It should also be noted that the Faculty insists on ongoing training for professors and lecturers in collaboration with other institutions and universities, to ensure the necessary development of every faculty member.

What are the principal majors on offer from the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology that satisfy the national and international demand for highly-qualified graduates in technology?

The Bachelor of Technology degree in a specialized area offered by the Faculty prioritizes the acquisition by students of the latest technological skills. As for the diploma offered by the Faculty, this trains the student to a high level of competence, not least because of the modern programs and state-of-the-art facilities currently in place. The available specializations are mechatronics engineering, telecommunications and networks engineering, civil engineering, agricultural engineering, aircraft maintenance engineering and business management and administration.

 On what Balamand campuses has the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology been established?

The Faculty has been established on the campus in Al-Koura, which is the main campus, the campus in Akkar, and the campus in Souk El-Gharb.

The University of Balamand has always been concerned about the development of its neighbourhood, especially the region of Akkar, so it decided to establish a faculty of technology there, obtaining the required license covering the fields of engineering, agriculture, business administration, and computer science. The region of Akkar was seen as a highly suitable location because of its urgent need for higher education in such disciplines. President Issam Fares offered to finance the project and further its goals, generously offering land for the campus as well.

How far has the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology, Balamand’s newest faculty, fulfilled expectations?  

We do not consider numbers the only measure success. Since its launch, the Faculty has proved itself a worthy academic body, amply fulfilling the aspirations of its trustees and the vision of its president, Dr. Elias Warrak. Since its launch on the main campus in 2010, and the one at Akkar in 2012, and finally the one in Souk El-Gharb in 2015, student numbers have progressively increased, making the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology today one of the biggest faculties in the University of Balamand.