October 2017
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MEMBER PROFILES
GRADUATE STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: HADI BANAT
Interview by Elena Shvidko, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA

Graduate Student: Hadi Banat, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Where are you from, and what are you studying?

I am originally Palestinian but have not had a chance to visit the land of my ancestors yet. I was born in Lebanon in 1982 and lived there most of my life. I finished my BA and MA degrees in English language from the American University of Beirut, an institution that gave me abundant opportunities to grow. In 2006, I moved to the United Arab Emirates and worked as a faculty member at the University of Sharjah, where I taught English for Academic Purposes English for specific purposes, public speaking, and communication skills. In the 2015–2016 academic year, I started to pursue my PhD in second language studies at Purdue University. I do connect to different places I have lived in and visited, but “home” is where my family and friends reside.

What is an “a-ha moment” you experienced recently in either teaching or research?

When I arrived at Purdue, I was not in a hurry to discover my research niche as a graduate student because I was keen on taking coursework from both disciplines (i.e., second language studies and composition studies) in order to expose myself to a variety of theories and research directions. Naturally and gradually, I found myself more attentive to the needs of international students at institutions in the United States. Purdue, an institution of prominent international student presence, triggered my interest in transculturation to promote diversity and inclusion of all student populations on our campus. My passion for writing studies made me think in an interdisciplinary manner, and I could not find a more suitable context than the writing classroom to initiate transculturation. Finding a research direction is quite a compelling moment because it is a mixture of triumph, excitement, and relief.

What in second language writing research excites you right now?

I am interested in the connections between second language studies and rhetoric and composition. Right now my colleagues and I are conducting a three-semester research study (spring 2017, fall and spring 2018) in First Year Writing classes of domestic and international students to determine how writing curricula and pedagogy influence the development of undergraduate students’ intercultural competence, thus measuring the effects of transculturation.

Could you share one way research informs your teaching?

I am collecting extensive data from the transculturation project I am currently working on. I will analyze the content of four major course projects to examine participants’ interactions with multicultural and writing instruction, in addition to data from reflective journals and end-of-semester interviews. The data will facilitate germane intervention to maximize opportunities for effective pedagogy in this context and will subsequently inform the curriculum design of future introductory composition classes at Purdue and other institutions interested in this approach to teaching First Year Writing.


Elena Shvidko is an assistant professor in ESL at the Department of Languages, Philosophy, and Communication Studies at Utah State University. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, and interpersonal aspects of teaching.

Hadi Banat is a third-year PhD student in second language studies at Purdue University. He teaches First Year Writing and tutors in the Writing Center. He is currently serving as the Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) coordinator of the Writing Center.

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