Educational leadership and foundations professors Steven and Julie Hite have both been accepted into the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to serve in India.
Steven will carry out a project titled "The Design, Delivery, and Dissemination of Educational Measurement, Inquiry, and Evaluation in India" at Ambedkar University in Delhi. Julie will research strategic leadership and networks in Indian education at the University of Delhi. Both projects are scheduled from January until June 2015.
Both Steven and Julie received Fulbright-Nehru scholarship grants. They chose their universities based on their professional experience and interests. Julie selected the University of Delhi, a large and well-established university with an education faculty of about 15 to 20 professionals, a number rather large for a typical Indian university. Their education department is also associated with an established educational research center.
Steven and Julie Hite at Ambedkar University in India.
“I have proposed a social network research project on the leadership networks of schools and hope to find that some young faculty will want to join,” Julie said. “I will have the opportunity to provide professional development on strategic leadership in schools and introduce social network research methods.”
Steven’s choice, Ambedkar University, is government owned and was established in 2007. It is located in Old Delhi and shares the campus with two other small institutions. The education faculty is very small. Of the six faculty members, five are women and most are under the age of 35.
“My career path has been focused on mentoring and research,” Steven said. “I will work with the young faculty members at Ambedkar to develop a research agenda on which they can publish and we can collaborate on, hopefully into the future. A small, upcoming institution with young, non-tenured, entry-level faculty suits my background and interests.”
Both of the Hites have proposed 70/30 projects, meaning that 70 percent of their time in India will focus on research and research mentoring, and the remaining 30 percent on teaching. They are both prepared to be flexible about this balance as they arrive in India and become more specifically acquainted with the conditions at their respective institutions.
“I think the research mentoring that we can both do will probably be our primary academic contribution to these institutions,” Julie said. “Our teaching will mostly be done as seminars or workshops, as their curriculum is pretty well set. While we won’t be teaching whole courses, we can design uniquely targeted workshops for what either their graduate students or faculty need.”
“One of the challenges of being a dual-career academic couple is making sure that people understand that you do in fact have separate careers, although they intersect from time to time,” Steven said. “And so we wanted to make sure that they were two separate awards, two separate institutions, two separate applications.”
The Core Fulbright Scholar Program is highly competitive, and preparation for the application begins almost two years before the deadline. Applicants choose a country and a university for their application. Several levels of review are conducted, beginning with experts in education and research. If the expert panel approves the project, regional experts will look it over. Experts in the selected country then review the applications.
“They review as to whether [the application] meets the priorities of the host country,” Steven said. “The host country and the Fulbright Commission have to agree that it’s a project that meets local goals and not just the goals of the visiting scholar.”
Both Julie and Steven are excited to participate in teaching and researching in India. They also hope to learn much from this collaborative experience with their new colleagues.
“It is my hope that I’m going to learn some fundamental things there that change the way I teach here,” Steven said. “We’re trying to go into it with the right attitude. We’re not going as ‘all-knowing’ professors from the US and from BYU, but as colleagues with something to contribute and lots of things to learn.”
Julie extended Steven’s perspective.
“Many of our students here at BYU are, or are preparing to be, educational leaders, so we can bring back an awareness of other systems of education . . . and help our students here at BYU [develop] a broader view of education,” she said. “I think this expanded perspective will affect both Steve and I as teachers, and it also stands to affect our students as they go forth and actually help teachers teach and children learn.”