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Beverley Foulks McGuire

August 23, 2016

A combination of influential teachers, powerful learning environments and transformative experiences abroad led Beverley Foulks McGuire to become a professor of East Asian religions and apply for the position of director of University Studies.

A former Mellon and Fulbright Scholar, she earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, as well as an M.S. in Instructional Technology from the UNCW Watson College of Education. Since her arrival at UNCW in 2010, she has been active in the interdisciplinary development and teaching of University Studies courses.

As the newly appointed director of University Studies, she aims to empower students to claim University Studies as their own – to see it as an opportunity to take classes that pique their curiosity and interest, while also developing crucial skills in critical thinking, writing and information literacy that will serve them well in their future careers.

“Stanford and Harvard provided amazing environments that encouraged me to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to my studies, provided resources so that I could study abroad and allowed me to learn from racially, ethnically and culturally diverse classmates,” she said. Her experiences living in mainland China and Taiwan profoundly influenced the trajectory of her research and study.

McGuire has been recognized with a range of pedagogical development awards and has published extensively on Chinese Buddhism, digital media, and the juncture between religion and education, among other topics. As an advocate and source of information for University Studies, she will facilitate coordination among the University Studies’ “Explorations Beyond the Classroom” component and other applied learning activities.

Her hope is that students will approach University Studies as more of a bucket list rather than a checklist.

“If students tailor their University Studies courses to their particular interests and see it as a means of developing fundamental skills that will serve them in their lives after graduation, I have no doubt they will become lifelong learners,” she says.

The learning certainly hasn’t stopped for McGuire. This past summer, with the support of a Cahill Award, she completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training and is now certified to teach yoga as an experiential learning exercise in her courses on Asian religions. After a 20-year hiatus, she has also started playing piano again, under the instruction of UNCW music faculty member Barry Salwen.

--Caroline Cropp