When Kholoud Al-Qubbaj came to the United States from Palestine 24 years ago, she never imagined that she would come to consider Utah a second home.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in English language from An-Najah N. University in Palestine, Al-Qubbaj moved from her home in Westbank (near Jerusalem) to New Mexico where she earned a Master of Arts in education and later a Doctor of Philosophy degree in curriculum and instruction. Once she moved to Utah, Al-Qubbaj was hired at Southern Utah University in 2001 to teach a diversity course. She is now an Associate Professor of Humanities and is beginning her 18th year at SUU.
Al-Qubbaj has taught a variety of courses including:
- EDUC 6710: Multicultural Education
- HSS 1120: Introduction to Diversity
- SOC 4530: Diasporas and Transnationalism
- SCED 3400: Educating Diverse Populations
- ARA 1010: Arabic I
- ARA 1020: Arabic II
Of these courses, Intro to Diversity is by far Al-Qubbaj’s favorite to teach and she now has the opportunity to teach five sections of it each semester.
“I want students to leave my class as critical thinkers, professional communicators, and to know the importance of teamwork in a globalized village like the United States,” said Al-Qubbaj. “When students come to my class they think we will learn only about differences between cultural, ethnic, and social groups but that’s only part of the diversity class. We are there to learn of our similarities as well.”
Al-Qubbaj has a passion for multiculturalism, social justice, and equality as is manifested in her impressive list of publications and reviews. Some of her current developing research involves effective methodology in teaching diversity, Arab-American stereotypes, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and minorities of the middle east.
Her passion for diversity comes partially from her own experiences as she remembers being the only minority on campus when she started in 2001. Since that time, Al-Qubbaj has been very impressed with the diversification of SUU while recognizing that there is still plenty of room for improvement. When asked about the recent appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer on campus, Al-Qubbaj gave the following response,
“It is magnificent that SUU is progressing in the areas of equality and social justice and awareness of who we are as faculty, staff, and students at SUU. It is so important to look at the American demographic change and understand that we are different now than we have been in the past. We have a lot of different cultures, ethnicities, and points of view. Diversifying helps create a more accepting environment for minorities. The warm and comfortable atmosphere really shows that everyone has a place at SUU.”
One of Al-Qubbaj’s favorite aspects of teaching is the personal interaction she gets to have with her students about whom she cares about a great deal. She gives all students at the university this advice,
“Take advantage of the unique environment at SUU. In most universities the classes are so big you are just a number. But here you are an actual person in the eyes of your peers and professors and have the opportunity to interact and develop relationships in the classroom.”
Learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.