Professor of Politics Mark Fathi Massoud is nationally recognized for teaching and mentoring, research excellence


Mark Fathi Massoud is on a roll The professor of politics and legal studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, won two awards during the recent American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting. Founded in 1903, APSA is the leading professional association for the study of political science with 11,000 members in more than 100 countries.

Massoud received the APSA Law and Courts Section Teaching and Mentoring Award for his teaching work inside and outside of UC Santa Cruz. Massoud directs UCSC Legal Studies Program and is affiliated with Center for the Middle East and North Africa. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford School of Law.

Massoud is a previous recipient of Award for Excellence in Teaching UC Santa Cruzand APSA’s award committee praised “its intentionality in putting teaching and mentoring at the center of its mission.”

“Mark generously gives himself to students at all levels,” the committee said in a statement.

In undergraduate education, Massoud sparks students’ natural curiosity, creating opportunities for individualized learning and making the study of law and politics relevant to students’ lives and interests.

Massoud has also organized workshops and mentoring programs for graduate students at UC Santa Cruz and around the world. While doing fieldwork in Somaliland, he taught research methods courses at a local university. He also organized writing and publishing workshops for African graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with colleagues from the University of Cape Town.

Massoud enjoys helping early-career scholars “find their voice” in their academic writing, and said he approaches his own research as a form of teaching.

“I see teaching more broadly than what happens in a classroom,” Massoud said. “It also happens during office hours and when we create spaces for peer tutoring. It also goes through the publications we produce. The articles and books I write teach people new ways to think about what they already know, and that’s what I try to do in the classroom as well.”

In addition to the Teaching and Mentoring Award, Massoud received the APSA Ralph J. Bunche Award for his book, Shari’a, Inshallah: Finding God in Somali Legal Politics. the Bunche Award, named after the UCLA graduate and political scientist who won the nobel peace prize in 1950recognizes the best political science book on ethnic and cultural pluralism.

Sharia, Inshallah also won praise earlier this year, winning book awards from the American Sociological Association, Association of Socio-legal Studiesand the Association of American Publishers.

The APSA Ralph J. Bunche Award is a discipline-wide award for books nominated in all subfields of political science. Internationally focused books, such as Sharia, Inshallah, it rarely wins this award; In the past 30 years, all but two other Bunche Award winners have addressed race or ethnicity in the United States.

“Receiving an award named after Ralph J. Bunche means a lot to me,” Massoud said. “Bunche taught political science, dedicated his life to peace, and fought for ethnic and cultural pluralism in the United States and abroad. I am grateful that political scientists have taken note of my research and so much that they have taken note of my teaching.”


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