The School of Arts & Sciences

New SAS Faculty - Fall 2018

Posted October 12, 2018 in Education, English, General, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

The School of Arts and Sciences is proud to welcome six new distinguished faculty in the departments of education, English, communication arts, natural sciences and social sciences. They bring years of expertise that will enrich the school and the students’ learning experience.

The following are short bios about the new faculty members:

Department of Communication Arts


Pianist Seba Ali joined LAU as an assistant professor at the School of Arts and Scientists in 2018. Dr. Ali holds a doctorate of musical arts and master’s of music in piano performance from Stony Brook University in New York, a Professional Performance Certificate from Lynn Conservatory and a bachelor of music from Cairo Conservatory, Egypt. Having started performing as a soloist with orchestras at age 11, Dr. Ali has performed with Lynn Philharmonia, Ars Flores Symphony, Cairo Celebration Orchestra, BA Chamber Orchestra, Cairo Conservatory, Cairo Symphony, and Redlands Symphony Orchestras. In addition, she frequently performs at renowned venues, including the New York Public Library, Kaufmann Center, Manasterly Palace, The Staller Center For The Arts, and the Historic Asolo Theatre and collaborates with renowned visual and performing artists. She is a winner of the Ackerman Chamber Music Competition and is a founding member of Gadayel Duo with her husband, hornist Amr Selim, with recent performances and residencies at Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley Music Festival, Lincoln Center, and Kaufman Center in New York City. Dr. Ali additionally is on the faculty at YES Academy-American Voices. She has served as the piano and chamber music faculty at the Stony Brook University undergraduate music department and pre-college division, Cairo Conservatory, and Long Island Conservatory, and has given masterclasses and workshops across the Middle East and the United States. She does extensive research on the teaching methods in the US, Europe, and Asia, collecting it into a source to other educators. Dr. Ali has been associated with LAU for years and is the founder and artistic director of Imagine Workshop and Concert Series (IWCS).



Gretchen King is assistant professor of communication and multimedia journalism at LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. King is an award-winning community news and public affairs programmer. Previously News Coordinator at CKUT 90.3 FM for ten years, Dr. King was awarded the Community Radio Legend/Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 presented by the National Campus and Community Radio Association of Canada. She completed her PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University based on research she facilitated at Jordan’s first community radio station, Radio al-Balad 92.4 FM in Amman. Afterward, Dr. King was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Ottawa, where she facilitated several projects related to community radio newsrooms and communication policy processes. During 2018, Dr. King served as a post-doctoral research fellow for the Canada Research Chair in Media Education and Human Rights at Université TÉLUQ in Montreal. Her work focuses on non-profit, Indigenous, and community media research, policy, teaching, and practice; journalism studies; critical audience studies; and alternative media and community radio in the regions of North America, North Africa, and West Asia. She has helped to co-found numerous multimedia initiatives, such as the Independent Media Centre or, and community radio programs, including Aboriginal Day Celebrations, the Homelessness Radio Marathon, Radio Free Palestine, and GroundWire Community Radio News.

Departments of Communication Arts and English


Sleiman El Hajj joined LAU as an assistant professor of creative and journalistic writing in fall 2018. He is also Associate Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy. He received a BS and a BA from the American University of Beirut in biology and English literature before obtaining his MA in American literature from the same university. He then attended the University of Gloucestershire in England and earned a PhD in creative writing. Dr. El Hajj has been published in fiction anthologies and in peer-reviewed journals, his output spanning creative and critical research. He is currently working on a study for the journal Biography, covering narratives of vulnerable or culturally embattled groups in Lebanon. Prior to earning his PhD, Dr. El Hajj was the lead archival indexing consultant for the Emile Bustani Foundation, where he produced the index for the Emile Bustani Archives, amounting to 38,042 pages of trilingual archival material, including documents pertaining to the oil industry and infrastructure in the Gulf, political and state correspondence, international public relations, local earthquakes and natural disasters, and extensive newspaper coverage, both in local and foreign press. He was also staff writer for the Office of Information and Public Relations at AUB, writing more than 100 news articles, features, and profiles. 

Department of Education


Hagop A. Yacoubian joined the Education Department of the Lebanese American University in fall 2018 as associate professor of education. He holds a PhD in secondary education from the University of Alberta in Canada. Prior to his appointment at LAU, he was an associate professor of education and the chair of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Haigazian University. In his research, he explores ways to empower future citizens into developing a critical mindset and engaging in democratic decision-making processes. Dr. Yacoubian’s publications have appeared in various international academic journals such as the International Journal of Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and Science & Education. He is the author of the book “Critical Thinking at the Armenian Schools in Lebanon” (Haigazian University Press, 2016) and the co-editor of a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education on “Rethinking Education for Citizenship” (2015). Dr. Yacoubian is a member on the International Editorial Advisory Board of the McGill Journal of Education, is a reviewer for a number of international journals in science education, and is an active member of several research organizations in North America and Europe. Dr. Yacoubian has consulted schools and projects as well as trained teachers and school administrators in the Middle East, Europe and North America. 

Department of Natural Sciences


Berna El Rahi joined LAU as a visiting assistant professor of nutrition at the Department of Natural Sciences in fall 2018. Dr. Rahi’s main research focuses on the role of nutrition in healthy and successful aging. She has studied how the diet of older adults modulates the physical, cognitive and mental aging process. Dr. Rahi received her PhD in clinical nutrition with an emphasis on geriatrics and epidemiology from the University of Montreal, Canada. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in nutritional epidemiology at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France, where she studied the roles of the Mediterranean diet and protein intake on frailty. She also collaborated with the Seniors-ENRICA project in Spain, evaluating the consumption of fruits and vegetables and risk of frailty. This work was featured in top nutrition publication American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Rahi then completed a second postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles in geriatric psychiatry, assessing the association between nutrition, in particular the Mediterranean diet, and Alzheimer’s disease. At UCLA, Dr. Rahi was also affiliated with the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she was a research coordinator and a health educator on several studies. 

Department of Social Sciences


Jeffrey G. Karam joined LAU as an assistant professor of political science and international affairs in fall 2018. He is also a non-resident associate at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Dr. Karam holds a PhD in politics from Brandeis University, an MA in politics from the American University of Beirut, and a dual BA in international affairs and diplomacy from Notre Dame University, Louaize. Prior to joining LAU, Dr. Karam was a postdoctoral research fellow in the International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He was also a visiting assistant professor of international relations and Middle East politics at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies and Harvard University’s Summer School. As an interdisciplinary and multilingual scholar, Dr. Karam’s research and teaching spans the subfields of international relations, international security, and American foreign relations. Dr. Karam is the author of several articles, book chapters, and policy briefs on US intelligence and foreign policy in the Middle East and the politics of Lebanon, and has received a number of highly prestigious awards. His research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and other venues, including the Washington Post.






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