By Steven Harris-Scott
Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) were awarded two prestigious grants this academic year for internationally-related educational initiatives.
Last month, CEHD won a Startalk 2013 grant, its sixth. Startalk is funded by the National Security Language Initiative. Professor Marjorie Haley and colleagues were awarded the grant for their proposal “Creating the Authentic Assessment Toolbox for Today’s Learner-Centered Classroom.” The intent of the project is to fund thirty Arabic and Chinese teachers from the DC metro area, and other parts of the nation, to come to Mason for a three-week summer residential institute that will be followed by fall webinars. The ultimate goal is to “provide participants multiple opportunities to explore and examine introspectively…critical considerations that directly influence transitioning to teaching in a learner-centered classroom utilizing various assessment skills and strategies with millennial learners.” This goal will be accomplished “through a carefully designed sequence of blended learning activities.”
Last November, CHSS was awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation “to further scholarly and public understanding of Islam and its impact on state and society as a whole.” In particular, the “Russian/Soviet Perspectives on Islam” (RPI) program “will stimulate debate on the lessons from Soviet and Russian interaction with Islam that can be applied to challenging and critical situations facing world leaders today.” The project – initiated by Steven Barnes of the Center for Eurasian Studies and Karina Korostelina of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution – was awarded for $500,000 and will “deliver an open-access digital archive of approximately 30,000 documents from the end of the Russian monarchy in February 1917 to today.” The RPI project will accomplish this goal by identifying, digitizing, translating, and annotating “a large set of previously inaccessible materials from Russian state archives that document the encounter and evolving relationship between the secular state and the Islamic regions, groups, individuals, and ideologies on the territory of the former Soviet Union and neighboring countries.” The award period will be for three years with Vadim Staklo of the Department of History and Art History as the project director. Both of these successful submissions were facilitated by the Office of Global and International Strategies.