Department of Rhetoric and Composition (RHET), Academy of Liberal Arts
First Place Recipient of the Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching 2020-2021
Fikry joined the Department of Rhetoric and Composition at AUC in 2011. He teaches research writing, business communication, and public speaking to undergraduates; and has provided much-needed guidance to graduates doing master's theses and doctoral dissertations. His teaching philosophy he describes in terms of respect and love. Students, he says, “have got to be convinced that you are on their side, and not against them, in their journey of academic exploration.”
Fikry’s work with students outside courses has covered a wide range, from the Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center to the First Year Program (FYP). To help students complete their academic/professional journey, he has taught juniors and seniors a leadership course that helps them with their student activities (e.g. Student Union (SU), FYP, etc.) and their professional life afterward.
Fikry has responded to student feedback, classroom observations, updates in the field, and awareness of best practices in the classroom, by continually adapting his syllabi and methods of instruction. Since he started teaching research writing, he has designed prompts and worksheets that have made students’ work much easier in their research process; and his syllabus (adapted from that of George Marquis) was approved by the senate to be used in research writing across the department.
His students have participated in the First-Year Research Experience (FYRE) poster event at the end of each semester, wherein they display their research posters altogether, and visitors (from other courses) come by to watch the displayed posters and interact with presenters.
When he started teaching public speaking, it was a course with modest enrollments. He decided to modify the syllabus, add assignments, formalize students’ speeches, and create the “Final Public Speaking Event” on campus (six events held on campus so far). This has strengthened the course’s rigor and made it increasingly popular. Likewise, his business communication course has been strengthened by an “oral” component which teaches students skills in negotiation, conducting meetings, and problem-solving, to have an experience similar to that of the professional world, not only in writing but also in speaking. Along the same lines, Fikry has developed an accelerated syllabus for business communication (to be taught in the short winter term), and developed an advanced public speaking course as well.
From Fall 2017, Fikry has taught the introduction to linguistics course at the Department of Applied Linguistics. He started with one section of 20 students, and in the following semester, he had two sections of 35 students each. The course has quickly gained popularity.
Fikry has been a source of inspiration to his colleagues in ALA. This is evident from the class visits he receives from colleagues, a form of mentoring colleagues through his model teaching. Today, there are several research writing instructors following his syllabus thanks to the mentoring and coaching they received. His contribution has been even more significant in public speaking in as much as he was the first to teach it in its current form: Fikry’s syllabus, powerpoints, prompts, and other materials have made instruction more or less standardized across different sections of this course. On several occasions, Fikry has accepted to give department presentations about various course components.
To know more about Fikry Boutros, click here.