Valerie Anishchenkova received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, she taught Arabic language, literature, and culture classes and did curricular development work at Tufts University, University of Michigan, and Middlebury Summer School. Dr. Anishchenkova's current research areas are identity studies, modern Arabic literature and culture, film and television studies, and cultural discourses on war. Her book Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture was published in 2014 with the Edinburgh University Press. Dr. Anishchenkova's extensive administrative experiences are in the area of program leadership and curriculum development. Her pedagogical interests focus on designing content courses in English and Arabic that address the issues of cultural competence. She is also core faculty in the Cinema and Media Studies Program and core affiliate in Comparative Literature. Dr. Anishchenkova is currently the PI and Director of the multi-institutional Flagship Culture Initiative.