He is just one of the new faculty members recruited to the university as a result of chairs and professorships created through the university's Inspiring Excellence Campaign.
Mokhtari has more than 30 years experience in education, 25 of those in higher education. He has advanced degrees that cover applied linguistics, teaching English as a second language, curriculum and instruction, and reading, among other subject areas.
Since 2011, when he came to the university, he already has laid the groundwork for several literacy initiatives and started implementing some of them.
These initiatives include redesigning the master's program in reading and developing an online program; offering a literacy intervention program at a local school; and working to establish a pilot program to promote literacy in Tyler and the surrounding area.
“We're all about impact,” he said. “We don't want to just reach as many people as possible.”
He said there are so many resources in this community and an enthusiasm among many people to promote literacy.
He said some areas of the community that need help with reading are not getting it while others are the recipients of duplicate efforts.
So if they can have a team of people to bring together resources and address needs thoughtfully and with a studied approach, a lot can be accomplished, he said.
“There are no quick fixes,” he said. “We're not going to solve this in a year, but if we have a good plan and if we have the resources to put the plans in place we can do very well in the next five (to) 10 years.”