The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) at The American University of Beirut (AUB)’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) has received official international recognition, in September 2021, of its accreditation by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), the academic arm of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This constitutes a stamp of excellence for the program on having maintained its high international standards and for fulfilling the stringent requirements and expectations of a US-accredited landscape architecture educational program.
LAAB accreditation process evaluates each program on the basis of its stated objectives and compliance to mandated standards. Programs leading to first professional degrees at the bachelor’s or master’s levels in the United States are eligible to apply for accreditation from LAAB, which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the official accrediting body for first professional programs in landscape architecture.
The BLA is housed in FAFS’ Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management (LDEM), and is the first and only program in Lebanon and the MENA region that follows the US educational model for landscape architecture. Securing LAAB/ASLA accreditation makes it the first and only program outside the US, worldwide, to attain this prominent recognition. This accreditation follows rigorous and challenging preparations and a virtual site visit conducted by a team of LAAB reviewers, in May 2021. This stamp of quality from LAAB/ASLA is a measure of excellence in the profession, which will allow graduates of AUB’s BLA program to pursue graduate studies in landscape architecture without the need for equivalencies or pre-requisite coursework, sit for the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE), in order to become licensed and to practice in the US, as well as seek job opportunities worldwide.
Accreditation under the set LAAB/ASLA standards and criteria is a formidable and exacting review encompassing all facets of the program including educational quality and practical experience. The BLA program was commended by the accreditation review team for the training and experience that students are receiving, whereby, the reviewers were particularly impressed with the involvement of the BLA students in diverse projects that add to the breadth and depth of their experience.
Led by Dr. Yaser Abunnasr, BLA program coordinator and department chair, the accreditation has been granted for the maximum allowable time of six years, culminating the five years of continuous efforts of faculty and staff at LDEM and FAFS. This exceptional achievement in the face of current political, financial, and health challenges in the country is the fruition of hard work by the LDEM and FAFS families.
This valuable and prestigious status validates the ongoing commitment at FAFS to deliver a truly world-class education to students, who now have the advantage to stand out among their peers in the region and worldwide.