Watson College of Education Receives Fulbright-Hays Short-Term Study Abroad Grant

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Watson College of Education has received a $89,279 grant to provide a dozen Onslow County teachers research and professional development opportunities in South Africa.

The Fulbright-Hays Short-Term Study Abroad grant, funded through the U.S. Department of Education, will support Watson College’s South African Culture, History and Literacy Project, a four-week study abroad experience for public school teachers next summer. Carolina Forest International Elementary School educators will learn and teach along with South African teachers with a focus on building cross-cultural competence.

"Increasingly, the importance of globalizing curricula in P-12 and higher education has become a focus of policy makers at the national level and education officials in local districts,” said Donyell Roseboro, chair of the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education. “As educators, we focus on the importance of globalizing curricula to enhance our students’ collaborative and creative capacities. Cross-cultural experiences pivot our perspectives, allowing us to develop new approaches to old problems. In doing so, we discover new possibilities and that, ultimately, makes us better as individuals and communities.”

While in South Africa, educators will study with faculty from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and engage in an intensive field experience in a township school in Port Elizabeth. Teachers will observe classes to understand how South African educators integrate culture, history and literacy in their instruction, and create online curricular modules that U.S. teachers can use to teach about South African history and culture.

Watson College provides study abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, but this will be the first study abroad program specifically for veteran educators.

“In the Watson College of Education we realized that we were sending our teacher candidates on study abroad experiences but they were returning to schools and classrooms where teachers had not necessarily studied abroad. It's important to us that our classroom teachers also have international experiences,” said Roseboro.

Roseboro, along with Watson College faculty Eleni Pappamihiel, Elizabeth Crawford and Kathy Fox, partnered with Carolina Forest and Onslow County Schools for the grant. Aruna Lakshmanan will serve as independent evaluator.

“We have been partners with Onslow County Schools since 1995. They have a fantastic commitment to globalizing education, embracing diverse perspectives, and providing supportive environments for our teacher candidates,” said Roseboro.  

Carolina Forest is an elementary school in Jacksonville, N.C. that focuses on global education. It has been a part of the UNCW Partnership in Action School Program since 2012.

“We have been pursuing global opportunities for our teachers and students for the past three years,” said Helen Gross, Carolina Forest principal. “None of that compares to having an opportunity to study and work abroad for a month. This opportunity is going to be life-changing for the teachers selected to participate and will certainly impact their teaching for years to come, and provide learning opportunities for our students.”