I am a historian specializing in the late Ottoman period, with an emphasis on Greater Syria. I graduated from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, where I acquired extensive training in reading Ottoman Turkish and Arabic archival materials. Currently I serve as the head of the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities.

My research addresses the significant gap that exists between the way most schools function today — such as individual learning, procedure driven, testing and summarizing — and the current needs of our workforce in a digital driven age that values collaboration, creativity, complex problem solving, and self-directed learning.

There is no single solution to close this gap. This problem can't be solved by installing technologies, reducing class sizes, or training teachers alone. In order to solve this problem, we need broader, all-encompassing solutions that work together and complement one another.

My research has primarily focused on designing models that involve changing the way the entire system works - including the way the curriculum is organized, the role of the teacher, assessment, use of technologies, and even commonly overlooked, but important issues, such as classroom furniture and how learning spaces are organized. I've been a part of the design, implementation, and empirical research on a number of projects all geared to creating an educational system that is relevant for today's society and works for everybody.

This type of design-based research is a unique approach that is urgently needed to foster the development of students who will be able to productively engage in addressing the complex challenges of this era.