Office of Inclusive Excellence

My Academic Journey: Teaching Through a Global Lens

April 4, 2022

By Amir Attia

Growing up and living outside the United States for a large portion of my life, I have been exposed to diverse perspectives and educational systems, both during my matriculation and then in partnership. These experiences have influenced the way I view higher education, my approach to teaching and learning, and how I engage students in the classroom. 

I have been an academic since 1995. My career began in Egypt, Oman and is most recently at  California State University, Monterey Bay. As a non-white first generation American scholar, I have noticed the divide that decades of racism and discrimination have created in the U.S., be it in terms of socio-economics, education, access to jobs, and so on. When I arrived at CSUMB, I quickly learned that we have a high population of first-generation college students, many of whom are from diverse backgrounds. I have always been driven to support diverse students, but my arrival at CSUMB elevated my resolve to make things better for the diverse students we serve. I bring my professional experiences into the classroom as a means of closing educational divides that happen far too often in classroom settings. I bring real-world experiences to the classroom so students can understand the value of what they are learning and how these skills can be applied in real and meaningful ways. The value and power of my approach centers on helping students prepare for potential jobs and future opportunities. I am motivated to bring diverse perspectives and accessible opportunities to every student who shows up in my classroom.

As a way to grow my capacity to do this work, I am actively involved in projects and committees at CSUMB and on the Monterey Peninsula. All of my involvement in this work is aimed at building an inclusive and healthy environment for the diverse populations, either at CSUMB or in the broader community. I bring value to these groups by utilizing my skills of using visuals to advance the work we do. Our collective efforts contribute in some way towards our communities becoming more inclusive and equitable. I am constantly looking for ways to use the experiences I have had living internationally to contribute to an inclusive campus environment that supports the students and the community around me and encourages them to do so to one another. The diversity and history of the United States society has, however, pushed me to expand my knowledge, to be more inclusive and have a heightened responsibility to create a safe and equitable space for my students, a place where they can thrive and learn with no hindrance.

Amir Attia, PhD, is an assistant professor of graphic design in the School of Computing and Design