Notre Dame University-Louaize’s (NDU) efforts in distance education has earned the admiration of its accrediting body, the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE). In a letter to NDU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Dr. Elie Badr, the NECHE Vice President comments on the “good work in distance education” that NDU has achieved, and invited the University to feature on the Distance Education panel at the NECHE Annual Meeting in December, saying that NDU would “be an excellent addition to the panel.”
“This is a very good indication of our performance,” said Dr. ElieBadr, NDU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). “That, out of the 250 universities in the New England Area and 11 NECHE accredited universities abroad, we were picked for the panel.”
This invitation was followed by a very favorable evaluation of NDU’s Interim Report to NECHE, in which the University highlighted all the efforts it has been making since it acquired the accreditation in 2018. In a letter to NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem, NECHE commended the University for its success across many different fields. In particular, NECHE praised NDU for increasing its enrollment by 4.5% in Fall 2019 compared to Fall 2018, and achieving impressive retention rates, between 81% to 88% across all three campuses. NECHE charts these retention rates to NDU’s commitment to providing as much financial aid to its students as possible saying, “Increasing financial aid in AY 2018-19 played a crucial role in retaining NDU students during the harsh economic crisis Lebanon has been enduring.”
They were also pleased to learn that even during these dire economic circumstances, NDU has “implemented the needed measures to maintain its financial stability” and has set “contingency plans to sustain the University in the future.”
NECHE were also impressed by NDU’s commitment to ensuring student employability. The Commission marked an increase of employment for all students “despite a dire economic crisis,” and were impressed by the Department of Career and Placement (DCP) securing 600 internship opportunities per year with hundreds of employment vacancies locally and regionally.
On an academic level, NECHE noted the improvements NDU has made to its Liberal Arts Curriculum and all its courses more broadly. Particular attention was paid to how the University implemented protocols to evaluate Programs Learning Outcomes (PLO) and the Commission noted that “all PLOs were met in the courses in which studies were carried out.”
Finally, the Commission commented on NDU’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting “positively the institution’s [NDU’s] dedication to ‘safeguarding the academic integrity of the Spring 2020 semester’.” The Commission highlighted NDU’s rapid training of faculty members, cooperation with the Office of Information Technology, Office of Registrar, the Office of Communications and all other relevant offices to ensure as seamless a transition to online learning as possible. It was these academic and non-academic supportive measures, coupled with the students’ positive experience and feedback which earned the University a place on the Distance Education Panel, which will take place December 10, 2020.