GradImpact: Creating Language Programs to Attract and Retain Multilingual Students

    Nabila Hijazi, a doctoral student in English Language and Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park, came to the U.S. from Syria with her husband in 1989. As an 18-year-old just out of high school, Hijazi began her life as a homemaker and eventually a mother. College wasn’t something many women in Syrian culture pursued, but after years of investing in her family, Hijazi started taking business classes at a local community college. Years later, she now has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in English Language and Literature, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D.


    Hijazi’s background and passion for teaching others has driven her doctoral research. Her involvement with the Prince George’s Muslim Association (PGMA) led her to teach writing to multilingual students through coordination with Syrians and Iraqis living in the area. But to her surprise, the incentives of free transportation and childcare weren’t enough to entice students. “I kept wondering why throughout the course, enrollment was so low. Beyond some of the technical or logistical issues of the program, it was apparent there were other reasons for low enrollment and retention, and this became the focus of my dissertation. I decided to interview these women to understand how language programs can be created to attract/retain students,” says Hijazi.


    Hijazi recently received the Dr. James W. Longest Memorial Award for Social Science Research from UMD last fall to support her doctoral dissertation research that potentially benefits small and/or disadvantaged communities. In addition, she has published several journal articles on teaching composition. To learn more about Nabila’s work visit the University of Maryland, College Park website.


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.


    Photo Credit: Anna De Cheke Qualls, UMD




    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.