UNCW Receives $1 Million Grant from U.S. State Department for Educational, Cultural Partnership

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The United States State Department has awarded UNCW an initial three-year grant to partner with the International Islamic University, Islamabad, UNCW announced today. The partnership will foster reciprocal opportunities for faculty and students in professional development, research and community engagement in an effort to support State Department diplomacy objectives, which include "expanding and strengthening the relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world."

This award is the first UNCW has received from the State Department and, at $1 million, also qualifies as the largest State Department grant to a university within the UNC System to date. The State Department initiated the grant program linking Pakistani universities with U.S. institutions in 2012, under the Fulbright-Hays act, with the mission to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges between American citizens and citizens of other countries.

“Our grant team is honored to be recognized by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the Department of State with this award,” commented Dr. Cara Cilano, Professor of English and Grant Program Director. “Through this grant, we’ll strive to strengthen and enhance cross-cultural understanding and to promote active global citizenship. The implementation of this grant will emphasize many of UNCW's greatest assets, including our faculty's expertise in curricular development and their commitment to collaboration, promoted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Graduate School.”

The grant will serve as a cross-campus collaboration among various UNCW faculty, drawing on the experience and insights of UNCW’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Center for Faculty Leadership, the campus-wide ETEAL (Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning) initiative, and the Office of International Programs.

"All of us at the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) are excited about our partnership with UNCW. We hope it will be most useful both in terms of academic exchange and in building bridges of understanding between the people of the United States and Pakistan,” commented Dr. Ahmad, Principal Coordinator of the Partnership Program on behalf of IIUI. “UNCW, with its extraordinarily talented faculty, is a fine institution of higher learning and we at the IIUI look forward to a very productive collaboration in areas of our respective strengths."

UNCW will partner with faculty counterparts and administrators at IIUI to implement a collaborative model of professional development in teaching, research, and community engagement. Featuring a focus on Political Science/International Relations and English, the partnership will also serve IIUI´s interest in collaborating with UNCW’s Centers for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Leadership. 

Dr. Cilano and Drs. Jess Boersma, Diana Ashe, Carrie Clements, Karl Ricanek and Dan Masters were responsible for writing the winning proposal and will serve as the chief collaborators with their counterparts in Pakistan, including Dr. Ahmad. The cross-functional effort originated within TIGR (Team for Interdisciplinary Global Research) at UNCW, which is housed under the auspices of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Identity Sciences (I3S), the affiliation center for this grant.

The teaching component of the IIUI-UNCW collaborative model will expand faculty teaching expertise at both institutions through in-person and virtual workshops, mentoring, and pedagogical collaborations. The model also supports the exchange of IIUI and UNCW graduate students. The IIUI-UNCW research component facilitates faculty exchanges, collaborations, and mentoring to increase individual faculty and departmental research capacities, while the community engagement component fosters student, campus and regional engagement through internships, public lecture series, and community dialogues.

UNCW becomes one of an elite group of major American universities to receive a $1 million three-year grant from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, including the University of Texas Austin, Southern Methodist University, Arizona State University, Ball State University, San Jose State University, the University of North Texas, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Oregon. 

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The University of North Carolina Wilmington, the state’s coastal university, is dedicated to learning through the integration of teaching and mentoring with research and service. A public institution with over 14,000 students, the university is widely acknowledged for its superb faculty and staff and a powerful academic experience that stimulates creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression and responsible citizenship. With an array of high-quality programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, and doctoral programs in marine biology and educational leadership, UNCW is consistently recognized at a national level for academic excellence and affordability. The university is dedicated to offering a community rich in diversity and inclusion, global perspectives, and enriching the quality of life through scholarly community engagement in such areas as health, education, the economy, the environment, marine and coastal issues, and the arts.