Dr. Pheroze Unwalla Awarded a UBC CTLT Students as Partners (SaP) in Course Design Grant

Dr. Pheroze Unwalla, UBC History Professor and Chair of the Middle East Studies program, has been awarded a Students as Partners in Course Design grant through UBC’s new Students as Partners (SaP) Fund. Dr. Unwalla will work in partnership with three Middle East Studies (MES) students throughout Summer and Fall 2022 on a project titled, “Redesigning MES 300: Faculty-Student (re)Visions of a Student-Centered Course.”

The Students as Partners Fund supports UBC Vancouver undergraduate students working in partnerships with faculty to redesign undergraduate courses. It positions students as collaborators in the academic mission of the university.

MES 300 The Middle East: Critical Questions and Debates is an interdisciplinary course that asks students to challenge the Middle East as a construct and Middle East Studies as an academic field. Subsequently, students work to, at turns, decenter, decolonize, and reframe the field to make it more just, equitable, and inclusive. The course is innovative for its classroom emotionality interventions, critical hope exercises, and student-centered approach, all of which push students to challenge academic conventions and transform the role of the (student-)intellectual.

In “Redesigning MES 300: Faculty-Student (re)Visions of a Student-Centered Course,” the SaP team seeks to expand MES’ mission to be a program built by and for students. Furthermore, they view an SaP approach as essential to revisioning a course aimed at empowering students and reconfiguring academic learning experiences. The team will focus on assessing and refining MES 300’s unique emotionality, critical hope, and community-building interventions. Their ultimate aim is to enhance future students’ ability to produce inclusive and just visions of the Middle East and MES, upend inequitable academic conventions, and attend to each others’ emotional wellbeing in a field pervaded by distressing subject matter.