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Kent State Professor Earns Outstanding Teaching Award for Unconventional Teaching Methods

Posted Feb. 11, 2013 | Nicole Winkleman
enter photo description
Fetna Mikati, Kent State professor in
the Department of Modern and Classical
Languages, received an Outstanding
Teaching Award for adopting
unconventional teaching methods and
enriching discussions in her classes.

Fetna Mikati, a Kent State University professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, does not believe in lecturing her students. Mikati believes in enriched discussions and using unconventional teaching tools to reach the goals set for them. And that is one of the reasons she was nominated and honored with an Outstanding Teaching Award.

The Outstanding Teaching Award is presented to full-time, non-tenure track or part-time faculty members who consistently show outstanding teaching skills in the classroom.

“Receiving this award feels great,” says Mikati. “I feel that all my hard work is being recognized. Knowing that your students appreciate what you do is one of the most rewarding outcomes. The day that I received this award is a day I will never forget.”

Jamil Kassabri, a junior criminology and justice studies major, enjoys playing the games that Mikati uses when teaching.

“The ‘fly swatter’ vocabulary game is definitely the most fun I have had since Heads Up, Seven Up back in grade school,” says Kassabri. “I think that is exactly how and why it helps you learn. It puts you at ease and kind of relaxes you – languages can be hard to learn. If smacking a board as hard as you want with a fly swatter isn't the most legal way to relieve stress on campus, then I don't know what is.”

I want to push them to think out of the box and to be critical thinkers,” says Mikati of her students. “In my culture class, I encourage my students not to take my words for granted, instead to conduct some research, to discuss in class and to come up with their own findings.”

One of the most memorable teaching moments for Mikati is knowing that she is connecting with her students.

“When I see my students motivated to learn even more, I know that I am able to reach them,” Mikati says. “Reaching my students and making a difference in their lives is one of the most rewarding and most memorable things.”

Her students are able to see how much she cares about them and they appreciate the unique teaching methods she uses.

“Mikati has just recently proposed using social media as a way for all of our classmates to connect and help study with one another, and she is currently setting up each student with one of the Arabic exchange students to practice and interact with native speakers,” says Michael Joesph, guest student at Kent State. “All of this dedication and innovation evinces her industrious and caring spirit and her commitment to her students' success.”

To see the recipients of the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Awards, visit www.kent.edu/utc/teaching_award/index.cfm.