University News

U.S. Department of Education Awards $190,000 Grant to William Paterson University to Expand Foreign Language Instruction in Middle Eastern and Korean Studies

From left: Professors Stephen Shalom, Keumjae Park, Dean Kara
Rabbitt, and Carrie Hong

William Paterson University is planning to strengthen its international studies with foreign language offerings in Middle East studies and Korean studies with a $190,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Kara Rabbitt, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is the project director for “Expanding Vistas: Global Contexts, Local Lives,” which will enhance language instruction in Arabic and Korean; both are significant languages in Northern New Jersey, which is home to the second largest immigrant populations in the nation from these global regions. The project will also develop programs to increase understanding and knowledge of the history, culture, and international relations in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. In addition to Dean Rabbitt, Professors Stephen Shalom, political science, Keumjae Park, sociology, and Carrie Hong, educational leadership and professional studies, serve as co-project directors.

“The Expanding Vistas project is inherently interdisciplinary and will lead to innovative courses connecting William Paterson students with community organizations and immigrant groups who are themselves connected to global concerns—social, political, economic and otherwise—in the Middle East or the Korean Peninsula,” says Rabbitt.

The project will expand language offerings in Arabic and Korean beyond the current intermediate offerings to advanced-level options. It will also support the development of a new Korean studies minor within the existing Asian Studies Program.

Second, the project will provide opportunities for students in pre-professional majors, especially in teacher preparation, to participate in summer study abroad programs in Amman, Jordon or in Seoul, South Korea in summer 2019 and summer 2020. It will also expand opportunities for students to interact within different classes with students and scholars in countries in the Middle East and/or South Korea using technology.

Finally, it will create professional development activities for faculty and increase community engagement. To achieve this goal, a series of faculty workshops will be offered to advance faculty interest and knowledge and to enhance community engagement through a series of campus events.

Shalom, professor of political science and director of the Middle East studies minor, will coordinate the programming and project activities related to Middle East studies and organize the planned summer study abroad opportunity in Amman, Jordon.

Park, professor of sociology, and Hong, professor of literacy in educational leadership and professional studies, will support the Korean Studies elements of the grant. They both will help to organize the planned summer study abroad opportunity in Seoul, South Korea.