WK Kellogg Foundation and AUB Launch Phase II of the Higher Education Transformation Project to Develop Ethical and Proactive Leaders in Agricultural Universities

November 2023. In a joint initiative between the WK Kellogg Foundation and the American University of Beirut (AUB), the second phase of the “Transforming Higher Education” project has commenced. Signed with a commitment of $1 million, this project aims to revolutionize education in agricultural universities, promoting the development of ethical and proactive leaders to address the challenges of the 21st century.
The initiative arises in response to and in continuation of the current challenges facing society in the 21st century. Traditional educational systems often neglect the student learning process and fail to address key issues such as the relevance of agricultural education, employment, and tuition fees. Furthermore, the lack of engagement with communities and society at large has created the need for a more active and participatory approach to higher education.

The project seeks to address these deficiencies, recognizing education as a fundamental instrument for the advancement of both societies and individuals. The importance of training proactive graduates with soft skills, encompassing not only technical skills but also ethical leadership, is emphasized.

The main objective of Phase II of the project is to achieve a transformative change in four pilot universities, in addition to AUB itself, all with faculties of agriculture. The goal is to prepare university graduates as ethical leaders capable of serving society as creative and innovative problem solvers. These graduates are expected to contribute to the well-being of their communities and countries, positively impacting the environment, promoting peace, and understanding, and respecting diversity.

The goal is to reform curricula and pedagogy so that universities transform their educational models and institutional cultures, becoming inclusive and integrated learning centers for students, faculty, and the community at large.

“Our objective is to evaluate the impact of the university transformation at the four pilot universities, including evaluating the change in culture among students and faculty at the universities, and the impacts on the graduates, and the rural communities due to the transformation of the educational models of these universities,” says Jim Frech, project Director.

The initiative is supported by organizations committed to improving higher education, such as EARTH University and GCHERA, which have joined forces to shape an ambitious project aimed at creating a lasting impact.

With a set timeframe from August 1, 2023, to July 31, 2025, this phase promises to be a catalyst for significant change in higher education, laying the groundwork for the formation of leaders with an ethical vision and a commitment to social progress.