Pr. Maria Assif is Associate Professor of English (Teaching Stream), the Coordinator of English A02 (Critical Writing about Literature) and the Faculty Advisor of the UTSC/OISE joint Program (B.A. in English and a Master of Teaching). She is a seasoned higher education administrator, with many years of experience coordinating writing programs, mentoring graduate students and leading curriculum, hiring, equity, and promotion committees. She is also the Faculty Advisor of the only Canadian chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.
Before joining the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2008, Pr. Assif taught in Chicago for three years. She received her Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University in 2005, with a triple concentration in American Literature, Rhetoric and Composition Studies.
Pr. Assif has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate writing and literature courses. Her research focuses primarily on writing studies, composition pedagogy and Arab women writers. Pr. Assif signed with Oxford University Press to publish a new textbook, Beyond the Five Paragraph Essay (expected release in 2021); she is also finishing up the first critical database about Arab women’s writings. Both manuscripts showcase writing productions by some of Pr. Assif’s undergraduate students. Her other 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.
Pr. Assif is the recipient of many research and teaching awards, including 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, the Melon and Adrian research fellowship, and the Dean’s special awards.
Pr. 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 and social justice. To this end, she believes that all students are equal partners in educational settings and strive to encourage students to participate by her side in prestigious conferences and different writing endeavours.
Pr. Assif lives in Toronto with her husband and their two young daughters. She is an avid traveler, a lifelong NBA fan, an animal lover, and an artist at heart. In addition to English, she speaks French, Arabic and some Spanish
American Literature; Ethnic Studies; Women’s Literatures; Trauma Studies; Composition Studies