Malu Receives Second Fulbright Award

Kathleen Malu, a professor of secondary and middle school education, has received a Fulbright Scholar award to conduct research at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London on language policy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This marks Malu’s second Fulbright Scholar award; she was previously awarded funding for teaching and research in Rwanda from 2009 to 2010. There, she prepared English language pre-service teachers at the National University of Rwanda’s Kigali Institute of Education. At that time, Rwanda had changed its official international language from French to English at all levels of education and throughout society in 2009.

Similarly, though French is still the official language in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congolese are increasingly seeking to learn English —confident this will offer a more effective global voice, Malu explains. Her Fulbright research will explore this unofficial shift in language, drawing upon the disciplines of sociolinguistics, anthropology, and language education, as well as her previous teaching and research on language changes in Rwanda.

“The effects of the language policy change have been poorly documented,” Malu says. “This project offers an opportunity to examine the effects of a grassroots change in language use that may, or may not, become official language policy. It is extremely important that this study be conducted.”

Malu is eager to bring her research findings back to campus. “As the world becomes a global village, it is extremely important that there is mutual understanding within and across cultures, societies, and nations,” she says. “To promote mutual understanding, we must consider the interplay between language, culture, and society. It is a great honor for me to receive this second award and I am grateful to the University for its support and encouragement.”

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