Hi! I’m Dr. Fawaz Al-Malood, an educator and college administrator from California who fell in love with teaching and helping both students and other faculty acquire new skills. I was a professor for over 10 years, and during that time, I was privileged to have served in numerous roles within academia and the community. I am extremely passionate about helping others reach their full potential and benefit from the knowledge that training and education can be acquired at any age and from any source. I am not a guru! Nor do I claim to know everything about teaching. However, I’ve had an incredible amount of success in teaching and managing at the college level due to the support and mentoring that I’d received along the way, and I’d like to do the same for you. For more about me, check out my bio page.
Why This Site?
Well, that’s a good question that requires an answer wrapped in one of my classic stories.
I realized a long time ago that many graduate degree holders do not know how to teach. Yet, many of them pursue careers as educators.
In the U.S., K-12 teachers have to go through a credentialing process that helps prepare them to enter the field of education; however, teaching at higher education institutions is a completely different matter. There’s no formal credentialing process nor a standard training program that all college educators go through. For some odd reason or other, many colleges and universities assume that a person holding a Master’s degree or a Doctorate degree is automatically qualified to teach a subject matter. Unfortunately, that assumption is far from the truth. Being an expert or knowledgeable in a subject matter does not equal competency in teaching that subject.
This isn’t an epidemic that only U.S. institutions suffer from; this is something that colleges and universities around the world experience. When I attended college in Switzerland, I took a Financial Accounting class with an amazing lecturer who made accounting interesting, fun, and meaningful. At the time, I was part of a class made up of brilliant students, most of them were high-achievers. We thrived in that accounting class and did extremely well. Unfortunately, the following year, our lecturer resigned to start a company with another faculty member. He was replaced with a young MBA graduate who was academically qualified to teach Managerial Accounting but who had terrible communication and presentation skills.
We were lost in her class, and while the majority of us were used to earning A’s and B’s in all of our classes, about two-thirds of the students enrolled in Managerial Accounting failed. I’m talking about students of distinction failing, not remedial level students. Naturally, we were upset and the class sent a delegation to the Dean’s office to file a complaint. We didn’t have any personal issues with our lecturer, a highly educated and pleasant person, but she was simply not a competent educator.
Teaching is an art that I personally believe can be taught. My hope is that this website will provide me and other successful faculty a platform to share our experiences and strategies that have worked for us. There isn’t a one-size fits all solution, and it would be arrogant for someone to believe and insist that there’s only one way to be a successful educator. What has worked for me, may or may not work for you; however, if you’re not satisfied with the results that you are currently getting, you owe it to yourself and your students to seek some professional development and to try new things. Yes, even educators need to apply the old “trial and error” method to find what works for them and their specific student population.
What Can You Expect Here?
If you are reading this, you are probably looking for a way to either enhance what you’re doing in the classroom or simply learn something new. My goal is to provide you with useful practical content in the form of articles, video tutorials, and online workshops in concise digestible chunks. Think of them as “fun size” tips and tutorials. I will also be sharing some of the resources and tools that I have found to be extremely useful in my own career.