Kicking off the semester with new faculty — Bahareh Assadi
Interview by Madinah Muhammad
Teaching students from across the globe, with a variety of life perspectives, makes Bahareh Assadi feel privileged. She joins the School of Administrative Science faculty at the Vancouver Campus as a lecturer in the Anthony J. Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies, teaching courses in the Master of Administrative Science degree program.
FDU: What brings you to FDU?
Bahareh Assadi: I was attracted to FDU because it promotes diversity and embraces a global culture, which is essential for meeting the needs of domestic and international students in Canada. I started as an adjunct professor at FDU in 2012 teaching four courses: Personnel Administration; Collective Bargain Labor Relations; Management Information Systems; and Organizational Communication and Conflict Resolution. That was the beginning of an amazing teaching experience for me.
It felt great to be part of a community of supportive educators who constantly strive for excellence in higher education. I believe global education is the future — FDU has done an impressive job of embedding this ideology into its mission, culture and values.
FDU: What kind of research do you do?
BA: I am currently collaborating with FDU faculty member Phyllis MacIntyre — assistant professor of economics, finance and international business, to publish research in the area of engagement and adult learning. We are exploring the relationship between empathy and academic performance. We will be conducting a qualitative study that focuses on the importance of empathy in increasing the performance of adult learners and its impact on engagement. I am also working with students to help them earn their human resources certifications and gain HR experience in British Columbia, Canada.
FDU: What in your personal life experience inspired you to pursue your doctorate and become a teacher?
BA: I have always been an advocate of lifelong learning. I realized teaching was my calling after my first time in front of a classroom as an adjunct professor. I loved interacting with students, learning from them and sharing my experience and knowledge. There is nothing more gratifying than supporting students and their development.
With that, I recognized that I wanted my research to focus on adult learning, education management, mentoring and engagement. I was fascinated with researching the impact that mentoring and coaching has on women pursuing leadership opportunities within their professional careers. I knew firsthand the benefits of having mentors, because I was fortunate to have ones in my life who encouraged and supported me throughout the completion of my doctorate.
FDU: How do you motivate and encourage students when they are facing challenges in class?
BA: When my students are facing challenges, I talk with them about ways I can provide the right balance of excitement and challenge in the course without undue stress. I have many international students who are challenged with living in a new country without family or friends, being introduced to a new culture, and learning to fit into social settings that are unfamiliar. My open-door policy allows students to speak with me on any matters that are hindering their learning and progress. I talk with students about their hobbies, aspirations and educational goals and find ways to keep them motivated and engaged.
FDU: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
BA: I practice Shotokan karate and will be earning my black belt (“dan”) within two years. I intend to continue practicing martial arts until I earn my “dan.” The dan ranking system is used in martial arts to indicate the level of one’s ability within a certain subject matter. My goal is to become a part-time karate instructor.