ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University will host 24 high school teachers from around the world next month through the U.S. State Department's Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program.
Education faculty member A.J. Angulo authored the $178,046 grant proposal to establish the first federally-funded cultural and educational exchange program of its kind at Winthrop. The funds will support a series of professional development workshops, field experiences in Rock Hill high schools, and cultural exchange activities on and off campus.
"This is a truly exciting opportunity to work with educators from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East," said Angulo. "The proposal was designed to ensure that we learn as much from our guests as they will from us."
Twenty countries will be represented, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
The teachers will be on-campus from Feb. 3 to March 19. During their six-week stay, they will take customized workshops from faculty in the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences.
"This has been an 'all hands on deck' effort that's shown me how agile and collaborative our faculty can be," said Angulo. The workshops will explore such topics as teacher leadership, advanced educational psychology, assessment, technology, and discipline-specific methods.
Each international teacher will also be paired with a Rock Hill high school teacher for all-day, field-based experiences. These pairings will give local teachers opportunities to exchange best practices with international educators.
When not in classes or in the field, the international teachers will participate in cultural exchange activities. They will learn about American life and culture through day and weekend excursions. These will include day trips to such sites as the Levine Museum of the New South and Charlotte's Discovery Place as well as weekend excursions to Charleston, S.C. and Asheville, N.C.
While on campus, the teachers will share about their culture and country of origin through Winthrop cultural events programming arranged by Teaching Fellow's Director Susanne Okey who is the logistics coordinator for the international teacher cohort. Okey applied for and received a Global Learning Initiative grant to fund the on-campus exchanges between the high school teachers and Winthrop students, faculty, and staff.
"They will be a wonderful asset to our students and to us as faculty," said Jennie Rakestraw, dean of the College of Education. "Of course, this is a terrific opportunity for us to engage in 'global learning' as we share our knowledge and expertise with them and learn from them."
The U.S. State Department's Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program is administered by IREX and will complement Winthrop's Global Learning Initiative and recent federally-funded NetSCOPE, NetLEAD, and WISE/STEM programs.