LIU Faculty Fulbrights Spread Scholarship Across the Globe
During the 2013-2014 academic year, five members of the LIU Post faculty were awarded Fulbright fellowships for international education exchange.
Dr. Joseph Piro, associate professor in the College of Education, Information and Technology at LIU Post, embarked on a research expedition in spring 2014 as a Fulbright scholar to study the different approaches to teacher education policy and practice in the European Union.
After receiving a 2013-2014 Fulbright-Schuman grant, Dr. Piro spent his time in Sweden and the Netherlands to explore European Union education from early childhood to the university level.
Dr. Piro studied topics such as the Bologna Process (an agreement between 47 European countries designed to ensure comparable standards and quality of higher education across the region), technology in learning, teacher education, and K-12 classrooms, and chronicled his findings on his website, euresearchproject.net. “The Fulbright experience was personally and professionally transforming,” he said.
Dr. Karen Ogulnick, associate professor in the College of Education, Information, and Technology at LIU Post, was the first American professor and Fulbright scholar to teach in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) in 50 years. Dr. Ogulnick worked with students and faculty in the Department of English at the University of Mandalay for four months.
“I received a very warm, welcoming reception and people were very eager and enthusiastic to take my classes,” Dr. Ogulnick said. “It was an incredible experience.”
More than 600 students and faculty participated in her courses, which focused on promoting more student-centered, communicative, and interactive instructional approaches that integrated language learning and academic content.
During Dr. Ogulnick’s time in Myanmar, she also advised Ph.D. students, conducted faculty workshops on English-teaching methodology, and was involved in various cultural and educational activities, such as the International Literary Festival in Mandalay and American Embassy sponsored events.
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to witness democracy emerging during this transitional period in Burma,” said Dr. Ogulnick. “I am in awe of the courageous people I’ve met who are taking great risks to create a democratic society.”
As a final honor, the State Department invited Dr. Ogulnick to Washington, D.C., to present to other Fulbright grantees about her experiences in Myanmar.
Dr. Geoff Goodman
, associate professor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral program at LIU Post, and Dr. Valeda Dent
, dean of university libraries, were both awarded Fulbright scholarships to teach and conduct research at Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi—a small village about three hours from the capital city of Kampala—from January to August of this year.
Drs. Goodman and Dent set out to explore the impact of rural village libraries on the communities they serve; more specifically their impact on 123 preschool children ages 3-5 and their primary caregivers. They assessed the children’s school readiness through the implementation of a storytelling/story-acting (STSA) methodology, which was then categorized in three relevant domains: emergent literacy, narrative comprehension, and social competence. The primary caregivers’ emotional well-being, reading/literacy habits, cumulative social/contextual risk, and sensitivity relating to the child’s emotional cues were also assessed.
Dr. Dent explained the reason STSA was chosen as the particular methodology. “Children tell stories to the group facilitator, who writes them down verbatim,” she said. “Then later on, the children actually act them out in front of the group so the children get to see their made-up stories come to life. We feel that the children telling their own stories gets them acquainted with narrative.”
The underlying goal of the research is to promote the development of a reading culture, and to develop models and activities that can be used in other rural community libraries in Africa to promote this development. This can be accomplished, in part, by empowering citizens in these areas to chart their own paths to a better life through access to information, sustainable economic development, and improved literacy skills.
Drs. Goodman and Dent have researched libraries for a number of years and also currently work with Friends of African Village Libraries and the Uganda Community Libraries Association, two non-profit organizations that support these libraries in Uganda, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Tanzania.
Dr. Tung-lung Steven Chang
, professor and chair of the department of Marketing and International Business at LIU Post, recently returned from a Fulbright Specialists project in Taiwan at National Taipei University.
Dr. Chang led hands-on workshops on strategic marketing simulation and implemented a competition to enhance the learning environment of students and for the university’s E.M.B.A./M.B.A. programs.
The development of the marketing simulation competition provided a motivational and transformational pedagogy through which students were able to gain hands-on experience and cultivate skills in strategic marketing planning and implementation.
“The students very much enjoyed being a part of the simulation competition,” Dr. Chang said. “Their learning outcomes were recognized both by the department chair and by its faculty.”