Dr. Amani Wazwaz, Moraine Valley Community College professor of communications/literature and coordinator of speech and foreign languages, was named the college’s 2021 Master Educator.
Since 2005, Wazwaz has taught communication classes at Moraine Valley. Her passion in the classroom has led her to discover new ways to get students actively engaged in hands-on learning. Because of that approach, she aided in the college grant-supported project “Mosaics: Muslim Voices in America.” She helped devise several artistic ideas to engage students and employees with understanding Muslim culture, especially through her House of Wisdom concept, which she also integrated in her course curriculum.
Wazwaz conducted interactive lectures in the college Library on the role of mosques, libraries and the House of Wisdom. She also set up a table during the college’s spring and fall fests, where anyone could dress up as a scholar from Muslim civilizations during the Middle Ages with a sign describing who they were and the influential contributions they made to society. She also gave students bookmarks summarizing the contributions of different scholars, and has written and performed in plays dedicated to House of Wisdom scholars.
Throughout this year, without the ability to interact in-person with students, faculty and staff, Wazwaz has led a project – Moraine Reads – which encourages anyone to record themselves sharing their favorite fiction or nonfiction texts. Because of these various projects and her passion for the work, Wazwaz was given this award.
“I am beyond grateful to my students, Moraine Valley and my colleagues and for this beautiful honor. This award is the Master Educator but is inside of an environment that is supporting and giving back. It’s a two-way dynamic relationship. You wouldn’t have a Master Educator without the students, and my students are gems,” she said. “It’s such a high honor but it’s continuous. You have to keep on giving. You’re forever learning, modifying, paying attention. You’re constantly changing your craft for your students. It’s a service to other people. It’s a self-transformative existence.”