International Colleges and Universities
UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT
In the fall of 2008, the Pappas Consulting Group
Inc. conducted a feasibility study to determine whether expansion of the
University's existing graduate/professional school student loan program to
undergraduates in the Arts and Sciences and Professional Schools was advisable.
The President of the University and the Board of
Trustees concluded that the expansion of the University's Financial Aid
offerings would enable it to realize its strategic objective of diversifying
its student body from a regional as well as a socioeconomic perspective.
Pappas Consulting Group was subsequently engaged to report on the establishment
of a proposed OPIC Guaranteed Loan Program for the American University of
Beirut (AUB). We undertook a deliberate project workplan to ensure that an OPIC
guaranty would enable AUB to accomplish its objective to increase the flow of
available financial aid to a diverse array of academically qualified student
applicants without imposing an unreasonable financial burden on students,
parents and extended families. To that end, the Pappas Consulting Group Inc.
engaged in initial document and data gathering. We worked with the Vice
President for Finance and others to collect and analyze: current financial aid
policies, procedures, and processes; financial aid loan practices currently in
place at the University and the nature of their funding; agreements with local
Lebanese banks dictating student loan repayment; the number of students
receiving financial aid (e.g., scholarships, loans, grants, stipends,
work-study) by school and discipline at both the undergraduate and graduate
level over a ten year time horizon, and so on.
We then formulated a series of
interview guides and focus group questionnaires in order to ask a consistent
set of questions so as to identify quickly common themes. In addition, we met
with the President twice and interviewed each of the Deans and the Vice
Presidents, the Internal Auditor, selected Directors in Admission/Financial
Aid, the Registrar, and Assistant Vice Presidents, as well as a number of
members of the Vice President for Finance staff. While in Lebanon, the Pappas
Group and the Vice President for Finance conducted interviews with five banks
to determine their interest in participating in an expanded student loan
program that would include all the faculties of the University at both the
undergraduate and graduate level.
We visited OPIC personnel in their offices in
Washington, D.C. prior to our on-site visit to AUB and conducted bi-weekly
calls with OPIC personnel, the Pappas Consulting Team and the Vice President
for Finance to keep OPIC apprised of our progress.
We continue to assist the American University of
Beirut (AUB) as it strives to strengthen its tuition pricing strategies and
financial aid programs. As part of our previous due diligence work for the OPIC
loan application, the Pappas Consulting Group Inc. reviewed AUB's student
services policies, procedures, systems, and organizational structure. Based on
our work to date and recent discussions with AUB leadership, we have identified
four areas that need to be strengthened in order to execute the tuition strategies,
expand financial aid services, and prepare for the requirements of the OPIC
Loan Guarantee Program.
LEBANESE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
The President and Board of Lebanese
American University (with campuses in Byblos and Beirut) engaged the Pappas
Consulting Group to facilitate a strategic planning process and craft a plan in
six months. This timeframe was dictated by the President's commitment to secure
its first accreditation by a United States agency, NEASC. Throughout this
process, we worked with NEASC's Higher Education Commission and coordinated our
efforts with those of Harvard Medical International who had been engaged to
conduct a medical school feasibility study on behalf of the University. The
strategic and operating ramifications of the Medical School are an integral
part of the University Strategic Plan.
The strategic planning effort the
President initiated was a new experience for the institution and its
constituents. Further, the President's years of successful, hands-on strategic
planning experience helped shape his expectations of the conduct of a
methodical and intentional process at LAU.
The President's objective was to
complete a financially sound and meticulously articulated strategic plan that
incorporated thoughtful decision making and action for presentation and
approval to the Board of Trustees. Among the priorities to be addressed were:
The planning process started in February
2005 and was completed in July 2005. The LAU Board unanimously approved the
Plan in September 2005. The plan has been implemented and is being monitored on
a quarterly basis. A new Dean of the Medical School was named a year ago, the
University has just enrolled its first Medical School class and has purchased a
hospital in Beirut.
In follow-up to the successful process
and outcomes of the strategic planning project, the Pappas Consulting Group was
selected to provide additional consulting services with respect to implementing
two key aspects of the Strategic Plan Action Steps. These follow-on activities
are described next.
Lebanese American University is in the
final stage of securing accreditation from the New England Association of
Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Achieving NEASC accreditation is a major
component of the University's five-year strategic plan.
While the accreditation self-study
necessarily had to be completed by University personnel, the University asked
the Pappas Consulting Group to work with the University's self-study leadership
to set in motion appropriate worksteps to obtain the required University input.
Meetings were conducted with each of the twelve self-study teams to assess and
advise on accreditation-related processes and work steps. A number of
consistent themes emerged from these discussions. We then provided a number of
key recommendations for further institutional action. During the NEASC Visiting
Team's exit interview in Byblos, positive feedback was provided the institution
concerning its possible accreditation. The strategic plan was cited as one of
the "best" by the Visiting Team's Chair.
Within the adopted Strategic Plan, a key
component was the redesign and enhancement of the human resources functions
within the University. LAU subsequently requested that we: provide an analysis
of the University's human resource organizational structure and processing
environment; review the compensation and classification structures, policies
and strategies that will guide the human resource function for LAU personnel;
and conduct a performance management diagnostic.
The analysis was conducted in parallel
for both the Beirut and Byblos campuses. Upon completion of the detailed
analysis of the current processes, we developed recommended changes that
impacted the roles and responsibilities of the two existing human resource
offices as well as personnel in the various academic and administrative units
of the campuses. We also recommended an appropriate organizational structure
for providing human resource services to the University. The new structure
reflects the new roles and responsibilities as required under the redesigned
processes and services of the Department, as well as enhanced efficiencies in
providing services within and across the two campus locations. A new
compensation and classification system along with a new performance management
system was recommended as well.