Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need

Funded by a GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, this program supports outstanding graduate students whose research concerns the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), regardless of their academic discipline. 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.

During the year of their grant, GAANN fellows participate in a Teaching Lab where they explore techniques for teaching effectively about the MENA region. 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 MENA region 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 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.

Pending renewed funding from the U.S. Department of Education, we may accept applications in the spring quarter of 2018 for the 2018-19 academic year. New and continuing UCLA graduate students in any discipline, pursuing a PhD with a focus on the MENA region, may apply for the GAANN award. Talented students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information, please contact the Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017