Nasser Isleem

Senior Lecturer of Arabic Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: teaching Arabic language, use of songs, proverbs, and other cultural expressions

Nasser Isleem served as an Arabic language Senior lecturer at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, Meredith College where he has taught since 2003, and Durham Technical Community College, where he has taught since 2009.

Isleem joined NYUAD as a senior Arabic language lecturer in spring 2012. He became a certified ACTFL OPI tester in 2010. Isleem has participated in many academic conferences where he addressed the importance of Arabic culture integration, proverbs, and songs in Arabic language classes.

Isleem is a pioneer in applying studies that examine the impact of using songs, proverbs, and other cultural expressions and components in teaching the Arabic language.

Isleem’s teaching philosophy states: "I believe in filling the educational experience in class with energy, humor, and variety, thus promoting a positive and vital learning environment. The immersion experience is not always easy for students having their first encounter with this method of language instruction. I believe in putting students at ease so that even the most timid learner is involved." As one student wrote in their Tanner Award nomination letter, Isleem is "unmatched by any professor I've ever had or have heard about."

His publications include "Popular Proverbs with DVD: An Entrance to Palestinian Culture," ALUCEN Learning, 2008, "Perspectives: Arabic Language and Culture through Film," ALUCEN Learning, 2009; "Colloquial Palestinian Arabic with DVD," ALUCEN Learning, 2010, "Kalima wa nagham, A Textbook for Teaching Arabic, Volume 1, 2014, Kalima Wa Nagham, Textbook for Teaching Arabic, Volume 2 (July 2016)", "Ramsah, an introduction to Emirati dialect and culture" by Kuttab Publishing, 2015, "Hakini Arabi, Colloquial Palestinian/Jordanian Arabic textbook", 2015, Arabic Language in Emirati Films, Linguistic and Cultural Window on Emirati Films (Amazon, 2016) and Popular Proverbs: An Entrance to Emirati Culture, (Amazon, 2017)

More about Isleem's publications and work can be found on arabiyyaat.

Isleem is also deeply committed to offering training in Arabic language lecturers to help them better realize their potential through the integration of culture in language teaching. He was the recipient of Award for Teaching Innovation, New York University Abu Dhabi, 2021, Shukran Cultural Appreciation Award, New York University Abu Dhabi, 2018, Tanner University Teaching Award; (UNC-Chaepl Hill) in 2012 and the Order of the Golden Fleece; (UNC-Chapel Hill) in 2011, and Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Awards (UNC-Chapel Hill) in 2006.

Isleem was named to UNC's highest honorary society, the Order of the Golden Fleece. He was chosen for his contributions to strengthening and expanding the Arabic program. Isleem goes above and beyond to engage his students in unique learning experiences. In addition, Nasser is dedicated to combating stereotypes about Arab and Muslim Americans through his outreach and mentoring of students and extracurricular groups.

Currently, he is a very active member of the NYUAD faculty team where he took the lead of making the first January Term Emirati dialect and culture course see the light in January 2014. He also served as a reviewer and editor for the Arabic translation of both NYUAD new campus signage and website.

Little known fact about Isleem: "I teach without teaching, I mentor my students and I always aim to expand my students’ cultural awareness."

Courses Taught