Dr. Rashad Ahmed, originally from Yemen, is an Assistant Professor of TESOL and Linguistics – with a Ph.D. in Applied Linguists and Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second and/or Foreign Language (TESL/FL).
Ahmed is finishing his second year of teaching at JSU, having started in the Fall 2020 semester after teaching at Miami University. This semester, he taught English Grammar and English Composition; in the past semesters, he has also taught the History of the English Language, Introduction to Linguistics, and Oral Communication. His favorite course is Introduction to Linguistics because it provides him with the opportunity to share the wonders of his field with his students.
“In this class, students develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of formal linguistics and the application of those principles in their daily lives as individuals and in society,” Ahmed explained. “Teaching this course is more satisfying when some students come to me at the end of the class to show interest in learning more about linguistics. Some students even wanted to major in linguistics.”
His students’ excitement for learning the material and about the resources and opportunities at JSU is Ahmed’s favorite part of his job. He enjoys building classroom environments where his students are comfortable to speak and ask questions. “Some of my most satisfying experiences as an ESL/EFL instructor have come from helping struggling students grasp difficult concepts.” Ahmed explained that teaching his students also helps him learn about his field and pedagogy, as well. About the English Department itself, Ahmed loves working with his colleagues in sharing ideas and suggestions. “The impression they left on me when I came for a campus visit in 2020 is one of the main reasons I decided to join JSU. They are always ready to help anyone and give them their full attention.”
Recently, Ahmed presented two papers at the TESOL International Convention and the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and participated as a virtual Keynote Speaker at an international conference hosted in Algeria. He is also a candidate for the Chair-elect position of the Applied Linguistics Interest Section (2023 – 2025). Ahmed is working on various projects with colleagues from the U.S., India, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan. One of the projects aims to “investigate ESL transnationalism, language, and identity in the digital world and is scheduled to be published this year.”
Additionally, Ahmed is developing a program aiming to prepare “current and future teachers to effectively serve students who speak English as a second or foreign language.” Those who complete the 12 credit-hour program, in which they will “explore the nature of the English language and theories of second language acquisition,” would earn a graduate certificate in TESL and/or TEFL. Students will be studying “the principles of effective English language teaching and the methodology and assessment of teaching English as a second language” and practice implementing what they learn before teaching ESL/EFL inside and outside of the U.S.
Ahmed has received several awards, fellowships, and scholarships in recent years, including the 2017 Applied Linguistics Concentration Award, the 2017 Ruth and Henry Loeb Scharff Scholarship, the Fulbright Scholarship from 2013 to 2017, the 2018 Research Fellowship, and a 2021 – 22 Research Grant from the University of Bisha, Saudi Arabia.
In his spare time, Ahmed enjoys traveling, jogging, hiking, and watching movies. He has recently gotten into aerial videography and photography. His videos of Jacksonville and its surrounding areas can be seen on his YouTube channel.
Ahmed has encouraging and comforting advice for students: “What matters the most in college and in everything we do in life is to try our best. So, try your best in every class and every activity you perform. Try your best to manage your time, and don’t let your tasks pile up. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t struggle alone, and always communicate your concerns and fears with your instructors.”