New Fellows named to CNES Teaching Lab
Fellows' teaching seminar. (Photo: CNES/UCLA)

New Fellows named to CNES Teaching Lab

Six doctoral students will participate in a year-long Lab on techniques for teaching Middle East topics.

Six students have been selected for the 2017-18 MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Teaching Lab, where graduate Fellows explore techniques for teaching effectively about the region. This year’s Fellows are Kaleb Herman (History), Suleiman Hodali (Comparative Literature), Tim Hogue (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC), Nihal Kayalı (Sociology), Holly Robins (NELC), and Zachary Mondesire (Anthropology.)

Funded by a GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program supports outstanding graduate students pursuing a degree in a field designated by the federal government as an area of national need. The objective of the program is to produce a cohort of energetic college and university instructors who have a rigorous understanding of their discipline and are also exceptional teachers.

UCLA graduate students pursue Middle East expertise in dozens of disciplines across campus. Under the guidance of NELC faculty member Beyza Lorenz the Lab offers interdisciplinary meetings for Fellows to network and share ideas about their research and teaching. Monthly meetings offer three types of seminars:

Faculty seminar. A guest from the UCLA faculty leads an informal discussion on a broad pedagogical question such as how to teach a survey course or how to teach controversial topics.

New Scholars seminar. Young faculty visiting UCLA from other universities for the Center’s “New Scholarship on the Middle East” lecture series are invited to the Lab to discuss their pedagogical approach to teaching about the Middle East on their own campus.

Fellows teaching seminar. One of the Fellows gives a teaching demonstration on a topic in his or her specialty, followed by feedback about the teaching method, potential audience, and the motivation for presenting the topic. Fellows also share ideas on creating a syllabus, selecting course materials, effective lecturing, stimulating class discussion, developing a teaching philosophy, networking with colleagues, getting the most out of a conference, and other practical skills for academic professionals.

The MENA Lab prepares future specialists and teachers in the critical field of Middle East studies. Our Fellows’ future job prospects are enhanced by acquiring the theoretical grounding to match their classroom practice as UCLA teaching assistants.