Letter from the Editor

Aliaa Hamad

T for Thank You

When Yasmine Motawy approached me and suggested we do a feature to celebrate Sanaa Makhlouf’s 25 years of service, I was excited. But then came the hard part: How do you pay homage to a figure like Sanaa? How do you do her justice? I don’t think we ever can, but I’ll still try.

The first thing that pops to mind when we think of Sanaa is role model. Even at the very last departmental meeting, Sanaa was still fighting for faculty rights. She was leaving and yet she was still fighting for others she’s leaving behind! This is who she is. She is not intimidated to courageously and appropriately stand up to authority. Always fighting the good fight, she does not settle for the status quo that fails to empower us. She wants to carve out new paths for us, pass and enforce new laws, and find alternative answers. She stands for principles that she refuses to compromise for anyone. She lives to break down walls and make a difference in the institution where she teaches and the lives of the colleagues and students she touches.

To be in the presence of Sanaa is to know you’re in the presence of professionalism and dedication. Sanaa is the colleague who, when stopped in the corridor and asked a question about a theme, makes time to send you the material she has and walks you through the hills and valleys of the syllabus. She will listen to you babble about a personal or professional problem, will not judge, will make you feel better about yourself, and will guide—not spoon-feed—you to the answer before she convinces you you’ve had it in you all along. The epitome of empowerment, she understands were are stronger when we all grow together, and she’s always there to make sure it happens. She is always there to give you the advice, support, and literal and figurative kick and/or pat on the back, and she always mysteriously knows which one you need.  

So, I won’t say goodbye; instead, I will say thank you. Thank you for staying true to who you are. Thank you for leading by example and setting the bar so high for the rest of us. We are better people, on a personal and professional level, because we have crossed paths with you. We will forever be grateful to and for you. The Merit Award for Academic Service is well deserved.  

We will miss you, Sanaa! But I know this is not the end of the road for us. Your teachings will continue to inspire us for years to come.

In this special issue of Rhetoric Today, Yasmine Motawy interviews Sanaa Makhlouf one last time before we say goodbye for some last words of wisdom and our faculty get to honor her their own way. We feature the Prezi that, in true teacher style, we shared at the last end-of-semester departmental meeting Sanaa attended before her retirement to celebrate her years at AUC.   

And Also for Teaching for Transfer

It all started with a letter to the Provost, a letter from a student who did not sound coherent although he had passed RHET 1010 and 1020 with flying colors. That was the inciting incident that inspired a series of lectures and workshops by Distinguished Visiting Professors and Professional Development sessions and culminated in our theme for the current issue of the newsletter. It was the reason that prompted us all to wonder why our students were incapable of transferring the skills they were taught in our classes to their other courses. Dean Ghada Elshimi and Senior Instructor II Doris Jones weigh in on teaching for transfer and our Department Chair Michelle Henry shares how she uses e-portfolios to ensure that what she teaches her students is transferred to other courses and settings.