Jala Makhzoumi

Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut

  • Appointed Assistant Professor in 2001, promoted to Associate Professor in 2003, full professorial rank in 2009
  • I effectively launched the Bachelor of Landscape Design and Eco-Management undergraduate program, taking charge as Program Coordinator six months after it was established 
  • Serving as Program Coordinator (2002-2008), I developed and promoted the new program (the profession of landscape architecture is also new in Lebanon), articulated program mission and vision, structured and revised the curriculum. I was responsible for overseeing the provision of program spatial requirements, equipping the design studios, ordering books, building up a landscape library and recruiting full-time and part-time faculty. 
  • I taught all landscape courses in the four-year curriculum (25 courses, 7 graduate tutorials and courses, 10 of which I taught for the first time), and defined course objectives, syllabi, learning outcomes, exercises and projects. My teaching load was high (9-12 credits per semester) but so were my course evaluations (4.0/5.0 on average). 
  • I introduced Community Based Learning (CBL) in landscape design studios, which are now mainstream in the department. CBL enables landscape students to tackle innovative themes such as ‘postwar recovery’, ‘rural development’ and ‘community-inclusive nature conservation’. 
  • I introduced interdisciplinary teaching in the landscape design studio, whereby students were co-taught by architects, landscape horticulturist, ecologists, water and soil scientists, exposing landscape students equally to lateral design problem solving tools and analytic scientific thinking, thus nurturing in-depth, creative approaches to the landscape problematic.   
  • I introduced ecological landscape design and planning, a graduate course that exposed science and architecture graduate students to the theory and method of ecological landscape design, and encouraged the students to apply them in their research in a range of topics (urban greening, urban heritage preservation, nature conservation). I continue to serve as thesis advisor to architects enrolled in the Master of Urban Design, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, where I advocate a holistic, landscape approach. 
  • I used the program as a platform to champion landscape architecture in Lebanon through lectures, end of year student exhibitions and design studio juries. My aim has been to demonstrate the broad scope of landscape architecture. 
  • I am proud that many of the students I taught and/or advised have since proved their professional and academic competencies in Lebanon, the Arab World, the UK and USA.  

1975 – 1990
Department of Architecture
University of Technology, Baghdad, Iraq 

  • I taught architectural design studio, design theory and history, freehand drawing throughout the 5-year undergraduate curriculum including the landscape architecture course. 
  • I served as deputy chair for academic affairs (1984-1988), responsible for curriculum development, program structuring, workshops and conferences.
  • I developed, and in collaboration with colleagues, co-launched two graduate programs: MS of Architecture Technology (1985); and MS Design of Human Settlements (1987). The latter program included a core course in ecological design, where students, mainly architects, were introduced to a landscape design approach that served as the framework for regional studies of vernacular settlement landscapes in Iraq.