Empowering Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) Faculty and International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) at Miami

Eligibility: Full/part-time NNES faculty and ITAs with teaching responsibilities

Amount: Each participant will receive $500 in professional development funds

Submission: Online Application

Due Date: Monday, April 10, 2017

Purpose and Description

Miami University's commitment to diversity and inclusion has been demonstrated in various departments, committees, workshops, and Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) by welcoming and supporting students, faculty, and staff from diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. Continuous efforts have been made to support domestic students and faculty to understand and interact with international students. However, inclusion of non-native English speaking (NNES) faculty and international teaching assistants (ITAs) as a powerful teaching force has yet to be fully accomplished.

The main goal of this FLC is to support these NNES and ITAs to utilize their multi competencies from their differing global perspectives. This effort will strengthen the tradition of Miami's commitment to diversity and inclusion through undergraduate teaching. It also supports the mission of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE): “to model and promote engagement with scholarly and reflective teaching practices to support the academic development of all faculty and students.”

Many NNES faculty or ITAs face different challenges than domestic faculty: 1) lower scores on course evaluation due to ethnic, racial, cultural, or linguistic identities (Mthethwa-Sommers, 2012), 2) different academic backgrounds, 3) selecting appropriate teaching methods, 4) ineffective communication, 5) understanding U.S. academic expectations, 6) meeting the needs of students and administrators, 7) engaging students in class, and 8) striving for professional legitimacy (Reis, 2012).

In this FLC, motivated NNES faculty and ITAs will contribute their time and knowledge to help each other improve in teaching. These members will reflect, develop, and apply good teaching practices in their colleges and departments, which can lead to their professional legitimacy.


  • Members will meet every 2-3 weeks
  • Members will engage in intellectual discussions, share experiences with interdisciplinary colleagues, and interpret how their experiences can influence their teaching and learning to positively reflect on the end-of-semester course evaluations.
  • Members will read scholarly articles that explain a broader range of teaching experience to apply in their classes.
  • Members will examine the "Statement of Good Teaching Practices" (Student Handbook), interpret it from each department's perspective, and fully apply it in practice.
  • Each member will review his/her department or college-specific policies and rules (e.g., governance).
  • Guest speakers (e.g., deans, provost, and/or department chairs) will be invited to share the administrators’ perspective on NNES faculty and ITAs, to discuss promotion or professional development opportunities, and to address their expectations for Miami faculty.
  • Each member will create his/her teaching portfolio to demonstrate effective teaching and develop it based on the models, examples, and requirements provided by Seldin (2010).
  • Members will review guidebooks or handbooks for NNES faculty and ITAs at other universities, and they will work on the “Guide for International Faculty or Teaching Assistant at Miami” for those who are newly hired.
  • Members will present at the Original Lilly Conference in Nov. 2018.



  • Esther Claros Berlioz, Educational Leadership
  • Jing Luo, Global Initiatives
  • Mysore Narayanan, Engineering Technology
  • John Ni, Management
  • Hamed Samandari, Engineering Technology
  • Mohammad Sarabi, Mathematics
  • Madhu Sinha, Integrative Studies
  • Zara Torlone, Classics; Co-Facilitator
  • Eun Chong Yang, American Culture and English (ACE) Program; Co-Facilitator