Topics of a personal nature.

According to a quote attributed to Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Given that my personal motto is “learn continuously, live generatively,” teaching and training are a fitting profession for me: I learn something every day about myself, the people in my life, the world in which I live, and the subjects in which I am interested.

Learning isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding intrinsically. It is for that reason that, when asked why teaching is my tenure, I explain, “I embrace education as my profession because it empowers me to help shape the lives of others, while giving my own life greater meaning.”

Occasionally, however, teaching is extrinsically rewarding as well: On Thursday, February 23, 2017 it was announced that I had won the “College of Business Administration (COBA) Program Development Award” for the 2015 to 2016 school year at the American University in the Emirates (AUE).

Notably, I was personally selected to receive this award by Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq, President and CEO of the American University in the Emirates (AUE).

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Reasons for my having been chosen for this honor include:

  • Contributing my editing, writing, and organizational abilities to COBA’s accreditation efforts with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
  • Designing “INV 300, Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” a new compulsory undergraduate course in compliance with Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) requirements.
  • Developing the syllabus for a proposed new Mobile Marketing course for our MBA program.
  • Editing a 300 page report for the reaccreditation of College of the Business Administration (COBA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA).
  • Enhancing my classes with interactive exercises, class discussions, and worksheets that challenge students to actively engage the course curriculum.
  • Launching two university level guest speaker series, “The Business of Marketing” and “Management Matters,” — and inviting other speakers to my COBA classes.
  • Managing large undergraduate classes of up to 49 students efficiently and effectively.
  • Reviewing and revising syllabi for undergraduate management and marketing courses every semester to ensure they present the most current and useful information.
  • Suggesting improvements to COBA policies and procedures, along with overall enhancements to the student experience.

I am thankful to have received such an honor and am grateful for the opportunity to have made the above contributions to AUE, COBA, and, most of all, my students.

Dammit Jim, I’m an instructor, not an extra!

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Last month I blogged about my experience as an extra on Star Trek Beyond here in Dubai. At the time I did not think I had made the cut into the movie.

However, the other day at a Dmitry Masleev piano concert I ran into Koenraad Gys, a friend who was also an extra, who said he saw me while watching a DVD of the movie.

I planned to get and watch the DVD, but tonight, just as I logged into YouTube for my MGT 100, Principles of Management class at American University in the Emirates (AUE), I saw a suggested clip titled “Star Trek Beyond: Starbase Yorktown Introduction Sequence.”

I watched it and, sure enough, at 1:31 to 1:32, spotted myself in my dark blue costume on the left hand side of the frame! You can somewhat see my extra two arms near my thighs, but you can very clearly see my face.

I took three screen shots from the YouTube clip and enhanced them as best as I could, circling myself in red. You can see my friend Alissar Nasrallah  to my right wearing a yellow jacket and my other friend Shah Qhan in the middle of the shot facing the other way with his hand on another extra’s back; I met both on the set.

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Live long and… extra!

uae-flag-dayThursday, November 3, 2016 was a day of celebration and pride as expats and citizens of the United Arab Emirates alike celebrated Flag Day.

This day commemorates the anniversary of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan‘s assumption of office as the leader of the country on November 3, 2004.

Celebrations were held throughout the seven Emirates of the UAE, including the flag raising ceremony below where Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ‎Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, was joined by 20,000 students from more than 120 nationalities.

The UAE flag is full of meaning and pride; it is a symbol of the rich heritage and bright future of the United Arab Emirates. You can learn more about the specifics of the flag and what each element means in the article “What does the UAE flag mean?” Thinking about the flag more philosophically, the Protocol Department of Dubai shares the following:

The Flag is considered a symbol of nationalism, independence and sovereignty in all places and at all times. It is closely connected to the national anthem, with both commanding the full respect of all citizens regardless of social status, education and financial standing. The flag represents all, without exception.

The UAE flag signifies peace, security, and happiness as seen in all national, religious, official and public events related to the political, economic, social and sports fields – whether held in the UAE or abroad.

The UAE flag reflects the ambitions and hopes of citizens and expatriates living in the land, particularly students who greet the flag daily in respect of the state’s role in creating generations of achievers and creatives.

Looking back on my two years here in Dubai, I am grateful for the many opportunities living in the United Arab Emirates has provided me. This has been an experience unlike any other and I could never fully express my gratitude for this experience. I am thankful for the exceptional vision of UAE’s leaders and proud to celebrate this wonderful country and its noble flag today!