Our 2021-2022 Excellence in Teaching Master’s Level Award winner is Nilima Hakim Mow.  Nilima is a master’s student in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Linguistics program.  Dr. Jennifer Grouling nominated Nilima, and she said this about her: “Nilima Mow is particularly adaptable and dedicated as a teacher. She came here from Bangladesh and had to learn a completely new educational system on top of learning to teach composition. Then she had to learn anew when we pivoted to online teaching. At each step of the way, Nilima put in extra effort to adapt, learn, and grow. She is particularly great at making new resources for her students, and the content she created for them to learn online was particularly well-done!”

Here is a Q & A with Nilima.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe learning is a social activity. I also believe students should be active participants in any classroom to get the best out of it. All these ideas shape my values as an advocate for a student-centered, classroom setting teaching philosophy. From the very beginning of my classes, I aim to ensure my students are feeling safe, secure, and comfortable in my classroom. By giving them the authority to take charge of the required classroom activities, I facilitate active learning.

I am always very enthusiastic about Ball State University’s commitment to inclusion and equity. With my endeavors, I always ensure everyone in my class gets the warmest welcome and their experiences get valued. I promote a culture of respect in my class where diversity is always appreciated.

What courses have you taught here at Ball State?

As a TA at Ball State, I am entrusted with teaching first-year composition courses. I have taught ENG 103: Rhetoric and Writing and have worked as a TA for Prof. Mary Clark-Flynn for the ENG 114 Composition Research (Honors) course.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Coming from a teaching family background, I always had the passion to teach. With the entrusted responsibilities of an instructor of first-year composition courses, I started growing up as a teacher in the real world. I love being around my students, sharing knowledge with them, and most importantly learning from them. Every day I learn different things from my diverse group of students, and those learnings are filling up my knowledge store. I also enjoy sharing my own experience as a writer with my students which helps them to understand that one has to go through the writing process to be a better writer and there’s no such thing as a ‘bad writer’ if you just follow the process.

What brought you to Ball State University?

I wanted to expand my knowledge of linguistics through an advanced master’s degree from a prominent international institution so I could share my perspective with international scholars as well as enrich and broaden my understanding. Coming from that academic desire, I decided to join Ball State University. Moreover, Ball State’s vibrant culture & community and the welcoming environment for international students helped me a lot to decide. I believe I made the right choice. Ball State is now HOME to me.

What are your future goals/career goals?

I would like to see myself in a full-time teaching profession in academia and do research in ‘Language Documentation and Revitalization.’ I want to work for the Indigenous languages to get those languages documented and revitalized. Language preserves a culture. Thus, I want indigenous languages to be celebrated and valued both by their community and everyone else who even doesn’t belong to that community.

What is next for you after you graduate from Ball State?

I will join my PhD program in Linguistics at George Mason University after I graduate from here. I have already received an admission offer from them.

Anything else you would like us to know?

I would like to thank some amazing people who supported me throughout my teaching journey with their guidance, encouragement, and thoroughness. That includes Dr. Jennifer Grouling Snider. She was always there for me as a true guidance. Thanks to Dr. Deborah Mix for being the most humble and welcoming one. I would also like to thank Prof. Mary Clark-Flynn and Dr. Kathryn Ludwig for being the most wonderful mentors of the world. Both were literally there for me and extended their hands towards me every time I stumbled. Their appreciation for every little thing gave me inspiration and strength. They poured confidence in me and helped me find the best out of myself as a teacher.

My gratitude is also to those graduate students who encounter countless difficulties while starting off teaching in a very new academic setting, but with endeavor and practice make their way out and fly high. Because I was not an exception, I started with no confidence, but my endeavors and enterprise to teaching and support from my professors brought me so many recognitions in teaching.