A new, friendly face on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus this year is that of Anas Al Fattal, Ph.D. As an assistant professor of marketing teaching both on-campus and online courses, Al Fattal provides a unique perspective about the marketing field with his international roots. Al Fattal was born in Morocco and raised in Syria. He learned English in middle school with the help of his parents’ language school. During his collegiate studies, he lived in the United Kingdom and later moved to Oman and the United States. He previously worked at California State University, San Bernardino for two years before accepting this teaching position in Crookston. Al Fattal currently resides in Grand Forks, North Dakota with his wife and two daughters, and he enjoys the small-town atmosphere this area has to offer. 

“Everyone here, seriously, is very helpful. I realized this from my first day, not my first day at work, from my day during my visit.”

Because of Al Fattal’s international background, he is able to share new insights about his culture with the students of this campus. In his recent International Week presentation, Al Fattal gave students the opportunity to learn about the Arabic language, food, music, and dance style. Through informative videos and the opportunity to try basbousa, an Arabic dessert made with almond, semolina, and coconut, Al Fattal allowed everyone to experience a hands-on view of his culture. Another activity included in the presentation was offering the attendees a translation of their names written in the Arabic language. Al Fattal hopes to continue helping out in more ways in the future as he continues at UMN Crookston.

Within his educator position, Al Fattal enjoys putting his passion for teaching into practice as he helps his students learn the course material. A teaching highlight from his time at this campus is when he organized a field trip for his marketing research and consumer behavior students. The students visited Hugo’s Family Marketplace in Crookston and applied their knowledge of marketing research in a real-life scenario. Furthermore, Al Fattal emphasized his students are very caring towards him as their faculty member. After injuring his back from falling on the ice this winter, his students reached out to him to share their concern and well-wishes. These small gestures were greatly appreciated by Al Fattal and continue to show him why he chose this career field and UMN Crookston. He looks forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic where the classroom can get back to normal and bring more students together again.

In addition to teaching, research is one of Al Fattal’s favorite parts about working at this university. Not all campuses require research from faculty members, so Al Fattal is delighted to participate in this element of the job at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Currently, Al Fattal is working on two research projects. The first of which is a joint research project about cryptocurrency with fellow Business Department colleague, Ali Saeedi, Ph.D. The second project is centered on the perception of entrepreneurship. Both of these topics were chosen by Al Fattal, so he was able to select topics that intrigued him. Once these projects are completed in December 2021, they will be published as chapters in a peer-reviewed book.

Al Fattal highlights that Crookston’s campus environment has been nothing but warm and welcoming. “Everyone here, seriously, is very helpful. I realized this from my first day, not my first day at work, from my day during my visit,” Al Fattal explains. Paul Adelman, Jana Brekken, and Kevin Thompson are standout individuals from Al Fattal’s time on campus, and he notes every single person he met since he started working here has been accommodating. Within his department, he enjoys the frequent meetings where Kara Bowen brings delicious homemade cakes. In the future, Al Fattal wants to start a tradition of bringing basbousa to share with his coworkers as well.

To continue bringing in new students to foster this positive campus community, Al Fattal mentions the support of alumni through word-of-mouth is highly important. He states, “Alumni are very important for the university, and the university is also very important for them.” His college years were a great experience for him, and he hopes the alumni from the history of this institution never forget about their positive experiences on this campus. By sharing their stories and continuing to support the campus both financially and through continued conversations, alumni will help sustain the campus environment he enjoys being a part of.

Written for the Winter 2022 Torchlight e-Newsletter.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith