1996-2000 Taught literature and writing at various colleges in Southern California
2000-2004 Lived in Cairo, Egypt
Faculty member at The American University in Cairo
Traveled in the Middle East and around the world
Did some writing and had some of it published
2004-2006 Taught literature and writing in Southern California
Designed Critical Reasoning & Writing course focused on U.S.- Middle East perspectives and perceptions (looking at America and the Middle East from more than an American lens), with Fullerton College students & American University in Cairo students corresponding electronically during the term--look for this course focus for English 5 at Santa Rosa Junior College (Petaluma campus).
2006 Joined Santa Rosa Junior College's English Department
I'm an American of Arab descent. My ancestry goes back to Syria, but I was born in Egypt (where my parents grew up) and moved with my parents and sister to the U.S. when I was five years old. After spending most of my life in the U.S. (mainly Southern California), in August 2000 I returned to Cairo where I accepted a teaching position at the American University in Cairo. I was living in Cairo at the time of the terrorist attacks of 11 September against the U.S. In addition to teaching, I was also doing some writing related to the attacks and the American news media's coverage and government's actions. Reactions by some Americans to what I had to say made me think that I would like to address the subject when I would return to the U.S. During the fall-out of the attacks of September 11, I started thinking about taking a U.S. - Middle East focused approach to a critical reasoning and writing course when I would return to the U.S. I taught the course with this focus for the first time in the Spring 2005 at Fullerton College, and it was an amazing experience for those of us involved. My students who put in the effort and cared about what they were learning can certainly attest to that, and I really enjoyed working with them and was greatly encouraged by the experience.
I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit around the world, including within Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, and I speak Arabic. Because of my intimacy with America and part of the Arab world, my sensitivity to each, and the close relationships I have with people of both parts of the world, I believe myself to be a bridge between the cultures.
When I'm not busy trying to save the world, I enjoy listening to music and playing guitar, playing and watching sports, coaching my daughters' football (aka "soccer") teams, reading, writing, and spending time with my wife and our precious little girls. In recent years I have also taken an interest in photography, and I appreciate its ability to express so much in a single still image.
I've also performed as an actor at the American University in Cairo's Howard Theater, California State University, Long Beach Theater Arts Department, and Huntington Beach Playhouse and as a singer in the Cairo Choral Society, Cairo Celebration Choir, and Chorale Priere Vivante.
Since the Spring 2007 term at SRJC (Petaluma), I've been teaching an advanced composition and critical reasoning course (English 5) with the focus I described. I hope that the course allows us to understand each other's cultures better and better understand how we Americans and our actions are perceived in a different part of the world. At the risk of sounding like I'm over-stating things, I'm afraid that the world can't afford otherwise. I hope that you'll embrace the opportunity to challenge yourself to examine the important issues openly and honestly.
I find learning and teaching to be very stimulating, and I really enjoy being in the classroom and playing a part in helping students reach their goals. I try to foster a healthy, comfortable environment in my classes, and I hope that you will sense that right away and allow it to help you reach your full potential.
Attended Stop Censoring Voices for Palestine (15 Dec. 2020)
Participated in Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Focus Inquiry Group (10 September, 15 October, 19 November 2020)
Attended Black Minds Matter webinar (16 July, 23 July, 30 July, 6 August, 13 August 2020)
Attended Online Teaching Conference (17 – 19 June 2020)
Attended Conference on College Composition and Communication (March 2009) in San Francisco. Notable sessions:
"Reading, Writing, and Rock Stars: Audio Literacies and the Millennial Classroom"
"Black Faces in White Spaces: African-American Identity on a Predominantly White Campus"
"Toward a Civic Discourse on the Israel-Palestine Conflict"
"Approaches to Teaching Argument"
"Film as Visual Rhetorical Texts"
"Taking the Stage: Performance and the Writing Classroom"
"Making Waves by Analyzing the Rhetoric of War"
Mentor as part of the Puente Project
Summer 2008: Speaker at the Petaluma Women's Club: Discussed my familiarity with Egyptian culture and politics and my effort to bridge our cultures through the approach I take to teaching Advanced Composition
Dec. 2004: Guest on two shows of Long Beach Community Television's The Palestinians: A Problem of Perspectives and Misconceptions
Nov. 2010 "Walking in with a Guitar and a Grin: The Blues in Their Eyes Were Watching God" (Work of Literary Merit Lecture, SRJC)
Aug. 2010 "Approaching the Research Paper--or, 'Where Did Half the Students on My Roster Go?" (SRJC)
Conducted the workshop
Nov. 2009 "'Speakerly Text': Road to the Promised Land" (Work of Literary Merit Lecture, SRJC)
Spring 2009 Selecting and Teaching the Work of Literary Merit, SRJC Conducted the workshop
Oct. 2005 "Bridging Cultures Electronically"
Presented at the ECCTYC Teacher Scholar Conference in Long Beach, California Described how my colleague in Cairo and I used an online program as a learning tool and cultural bridge between an Arab country (Egypt) and the United States
July 2005 "Engaging the Global Community -- Looking Over the Horizon" Presented ideas with colleagues from The American University in Cairo, at the Merlot International Conference, Nashville, Tennessee
March 2001 Second International Conference on Contrastive Rhetoric, American University in Cairo, Egypt Participated as Panel Chairperson Spring 2001 Film Adaptation as the Basis for Evaluative-Comparative Writing, American University in Cairo Conducted the workshop
2001-2004 Had essays (dealing with U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world and the role of news media) published in the opinion pages of the Arab press
Excellence in Teaching Award (Dec. 2017), The National Society of Leadership and Success
Spring 2011 Outstanding Mentor (Puente Program, SRJC)
Spring 2010 Outstanding Mentor (Puente Program, SRJC)
Fall 2009 Tenure Granted (SRJC) Spring 2009 Outstanding Mentor (Puente Program, SRJC)
Spring 2006 Certificate of Excellence in Student Support (Fullerton College)
Spring 2000 Certificate of Award (from Fullerton College's Inter-Club Council for work as Political Awareness Club Advisor)
Fall 1997 Certificate of Merit (Rio Hondo College)
Dean's Lists (California State University, Long Beach) for outstanding academic achievement