Professor Maria Assif is Associate Professor of English, Teaching Stream, and the Coordinatorof English A02 (Critical Writing about Literature). Before joining UTSC in 2008, she received her Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 2005 (with a triple concentration in American Literature, Rhetoric and Composition Studies and Women's Studies), then she moved to Chicago where she received her tenure at Truman College in 2008.
Formally trained as an Americanist, a rhetorician and a writing specialist, Professor Assif's research focuses primarily on composition pedagogy and Arab women’s writings. Her publications have appeared in tens of journals and anthologies, such as The International Journal of Arts and Science, The International Journal of Comparative Literature and Transnational Studies, The International Journal of Arts and Sciences, the online WorldWide Forum of Education and Culture, Diversity and the Challenges of Global Higher Education, Pennsylvania Notes, Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture. She is also the Associate Editor of different journals whose focus range between comparative literature, transnational studies, education, and cultural linguistics. Professor Assif has just finished the first critical database about Arab women’s writings, scheduled to be launched online in the summer of 2019. She is also currently working on two manuscripts. The first is a textbook entitled, Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide. Its main focus is to discuss the nuts and bolts of academic writing about literature in an accessible language. Her second book, Teaching First-Year Composition: A Manual, is geared towards both experienced and new teachers of first-year composition and combines both practical and research-based recommendations for designing and teaching first-year writing courses.
Professor Assif is the recipient of many research and teaching awards: the TedexUTSC 2016 "Dare to know" Participation, the UofT Idered Campaign award, The UTSC Underground Best Professor of the Year, The Middle East Excellence Award Institute in Education Nomination, TVO Best Lecturer Series Nomination, Top Five Educators in Illinois, The Fulbright Scholarship, and the Melon and Adrian research fellowship. She is also a seasoned higher education administrator, with many years of experience coordinating writing programs, mentoring graduate students and leading curriculum and hiring committees.
Professor Assif's life calling is teaching, and she is honoured to have touched thousands of lives throughout her teaching career. While her teaching philosophy is fluid, three main tenants shape most of her teaching decisions: the belief in every student's potential, the need for pedagogical innovation in the classroom, and higher education as a platform for equity.
Professor Assif lives in Toronto with her husband and their two daughters.
American Literature; Ethnic Studies; Women’s Literatures; Trauma Studies; Composition Studies