Lebanese American University

LAU Advancement

Elise Salem, VP for Student Development and Enrollment Management

Dr. Elise Salem, Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management

salem.jpgDr. Elise Salem joined LAU as the Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management (SDEM) in July 2008.  In her role, Dr. Salem oversees the university’s student development and enrollment management across seven schools.  We asked her a few questions about where she sees enrollement at LAU heading.

For those who are not familiar, what does your role entail at LAU? 
Overseeing student affairs, which means running the services that cater to student activities and welfare, athletics and residence halls.  Plus managing the enrollment management division that includes registrars, admission and financial aid.  My unit also includes continuing education and SINARC programs, testing services and the Model U.N.
When becoming a part of LAU’s leadership, you embarked on a plan to increase enrollment at the school’s campuses. How successful has your plan been so far? 
Actually, the plan was to create a plan.  That resulted in the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan that offers a roadmap on how to raise admissions standards, diversify the student body, manage enrollment numbers, and provide better services to our students.  We have been successful in raising the number of applications to LAU.  We are hopeful that we will continue to become a more selective university.
From your perspective, what are the challenges that still need to be addressed when it comes to issues of enrollment and student life? 
To enroll students in majors we believe are important to Lebanon and the region, to become more selective in the admissions process, and to improve the facilities to accommodate our students.
Based on your interaction with students on campus, what do you think of the student body overall? 
A good number are engaged and have much to contribute to student life.  Every day I am impressed by the talent and creativity and intelligence of our students on both campuses.
How do you see LAU in the context of other universities in Lebanon and the Middle East? 
We are a rising star and everyone is aware of that.  The word is out that LAU is on the move and it’s very exciting to be part of the process.
What are the next steps for the student development office? 
We are strengthening the outreach component to include offices of civic engagement and study abroad.  In May, we will be holding our first annual NGO Fair, with some 70 NGO’s signed up, to introduce students to internships and volunteerism in Lebanon.
You left Lebanon for academic pursuits in the 1970s, but returned to take your post at LAU. What impressions has Lebanon left on you since your return? 
I don’t want to leave.  This is the place to be.  We are all doing important work and making a difference.

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