Dr. Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education at UAB. She completed her B.A. in Religious Studies at Randall University, M.A. in English at the University of Central Oklahoma, and M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Bodine Al-Sharif has worked in higher education for over 14 years as both a faculty member and student affairs and services administrator. She served as a Social Justice Graduate Research Fellow during her doctoral studies, and in 2019, she was selected as a Saudi Fellow by the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education (IECHE) Program. Her research interests are focused on current global movements in educational reform, international higher education, student development, and issues of social justice and advocacy within higher education. Specifically, she explores the lives of students who define themselves as living between worlds across issues of ability, race, religion, gender expression and the like. Her work has provided insight into the unique experiences of minoritized and marginalized populations in higher education both in the United States and abroad.
My own experiences as a student who has studied and lived abroad have guided my research interests. I am a traveler, sojourner, and to a very broad extent a global nomad in higher education. I have learned to examine the world through a uniquely diverse lens. In addition, my positionality, my relationship to my research, is driven by the social constructs that define my identity – race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and the like, as well as the impact of the many environments in which I dwell. That being said, the focus of my research is inclusive of the following areas within higher education:
1) Student identity development – Exploring the lives of students who define themselves as living between worlds across issues of ability, race, religion, ethnicity, gender expression, and the like.
2) Global movements in higher education; the impact of internationalization, globalization and glocalization.
3) Exploring issues of social justice, institutionalized oppression, and advocacy within higher education.
I am a firm supporter of learner-oriented teaching. I believe students need instruction that proves that the professor is both engaged and woke to current trends in research and practice, as well as to students’ needs within the classroom. Therefore, I have the responsibility to know who my students are, what kind of knowledge and experience they bring to the learning environment, and what they hope to accomplish through their educational endeavors. This is information that I seek to discover through application, interview, and orientation processes, as well as through classroom and/or online interactions. Students must be able to move from theory to practice, and this can only be accomplished through collaborative interaction, round-table discussions, focused activities, guided research opportunities, and supportive interactions with faculty. All of which, I utilize in the classroom environment. In order to fully support students, I make myself available to them. I am regularly working in my office, respond to emails within 24 hours, and provide regular office hours, as well as meetings by appointment when needed. It is my responsibility to both build and engage students in the learning environment whether face-to-face, hybrid, and/or online. Ultimately, I believe that we have just as much to learn from our students as our students have to learn from us.