Two faculty members in WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences have received grants from the Fulbright Program.
Dr. Kristin Wilson, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research, has received a Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to South Africa. Dr. Kay Gandy, professor in the School of Teacher Education, has received a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad grant to Senegal.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program. Through the Fulbright Core Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, faculty may teach, conduct research, or both. Through the Fulbright-Hays program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, faculty may develop and investigate collaborative projects abroad related to foreign language or area studies.
Dr. Wilson, an alumna of the Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar (ZSEIFS) to South Africa, will conduct research on college “massification,” a South African term used to describe college student persistence. As a ZSEIFS participant, Dr. Wilson used her time in country to establish contacts at the University of Limpopo and lay the groundwork for her research project funded by the Fulbright Program.
“The University of Limpopo is home to more than 18,000 students, many of which are first generation students coming from homes where college degree attainment was an impossible dream for their parents,” Dr. Wilson said. “My Fulbright to the University of Limpopo allows me the opportunity to collect data about college student experiences, and begin to understand how college aspirations are viewed in the new South Africa.”
Thanks to encouragement from the Office of International Programs, Dr. Gandy, who has previously received two Fulbright-Hays awards, will explore religious and cultural diversity in West Africa. Her project will focus specifically on Senegal and why it has maintained social harmony despite widespread identity-based conflicts throughout West Africa.
As a fully funded program, Dr. Gandy saw the Fulbright-Hays to Senegal as a way of addressing an academic need without tapping into university resources.
“The lessons I’ll glean from this experience will be shared with the teachers I train,” Dr. Gandy said. “They need to be able to support student diversity and create a learning environment of understanding and empathy. Only by participating in experiential activities and actively engaging with the culture, can we expect to gain a deeper understanding of a very different culture.”
Dr. Gandy hopes that this experience will allow her to help teachers become culturally sensitive to the diverse students of today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program’s establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since then, the Program has given more than 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
For more information and Fulbright resources, visit www.wku.edu/oip/wkufulbright
About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in a global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus, and community audiences.
Contact: Anna Yacovone, (270) 745-3975