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Education professor named Fulbright Scholar

Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2001

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 19, 2001- Santa Clara University professor and educational psychologist Sara Garcia has been selected for a Fulbright Scholar award, joining the ranks of some 225,000 distinguished scholars and professionals worldwide who are leaders in the educational, political, economic, social, and cultural lives of their countries.

The Fulbright Program, recognized as the U.S. government's flagship program in international educational exchange, sends 800 scholars and professionals each year to more than 130 countries where they lecture or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.

At the end of April, Garcia became one of two scholars selected for the U.S.-Mexico Border Program for her community based action research to be conducted in Chihuahua, Mexico. Her 9-month project, to be conducted in the 2001-2002 academic year, includes teacher development and the documentation of the effectiveness of updated principles for integrating environmental contexts and teaching approaches.

Garcia joins a group of Fulbright alumnae from SCU, including Political Science Professor Jane Curry, who held two Fulbright professorships in Poland in 1988 and 1990-91. She was also the first undergraduate Fulbrighter to go to Eastern Europe in 1969-70. More recently, Assistant Professor of Political Science Greg Corning was a Fulbright-Hays fellow in Japan last year.

Garcia's proposal involves creating a course especially designed for public school teachers working in collaboration with bio-diversity researchers at the Instituto de Ecologia in Chihuahua. The plan is to form research teams of teachers from pre-school to secondary schools to develop a collaborative model for teaching concepts related to drought in the Chihuahua desert.

The goal is to create a model that can be replicated and used in other regions and change the attitude toward the teaching and learning process.

"Collaborating with Mexican teachers connected with communities that have environmental issues as a focus for researching their own practice, will yield interactive dimensions of cultural practice essential for better understanding the 'changing equilibrium' between U.S./Mexico relations concerning education," adds Garcia.

The affiliation and collaboration with the Instituto de Ecologia Centro Regional de Chihuahua happened as a result of a paper Garcia submitted at the First Annual Conference Exploring Diversity Through Innovative Research and Education in Borderland Environments held in June 2000 in Chihuahua City.

Garcia's paper reflected her collaborative involvement with the Mexican Heritage Museum, SCU's Teacher Education Program and public elementary schools. Together, they developed a docent guide template and curriculum for the Cesar Chavez exhibit displayed at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The template was created to serve as the model for teaching science by connecting an object historically and culturally.

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Santa Clara University is a Jesuit university located in Silicon Valley, with 4,300 undergraduate and 3,050 graduate students. The university offers a rigorous undergraduate curriculum and nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. In 2001, the American Association of Colleges and Universities awarded SCU a commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Undergraduate Education. SCU celebrates its 150th anniversary in the 2000-01 academic year. For more information, visit www.scu.edu.

Tags: Fulbright

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