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CEHD Hosts Pakistani Faculty as Part of State Department Grant

September 27, 2016

Twenty faculty from the University of Management and Technology (UMT) in Lahore, Pakistan, are visiting George Mason University. The purpose of the visit, scheduled from September 17 to October 2, is to participate in professional development seminars and to meet with Mason faculty in their respective disciplines. This faculty exchange is part of a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of State.

Housed in Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), the goal of the U.S.-Pakistan Collaboration for Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Research (CFETR) is to foster collaboration and strengthen person-to-person ties between the United States and Pakistan through academic exchanges, joint research, and other scholarly work. A highlight of the collaboration will be a research conference in spring 2017 in Lahore, when faculty from the two universities will share the results of their work.

The visiting scholars represent the second of two groups (39 professors in all) of UMT faculty to participate in two weeks of seminars, cultural exchanges, and research at Mason. The first group arrived in spring 2016, and participants are continuing their work with Mason through regular online meetings and webinars with CFETR faculty. In addition, members of the first group led training sessions on teaching and learning strategies to UMT's faculty upon their return to Lahore.

Dr. Rebecca Fox, Principal Investigator, said the learning goes in both directions. "We share our best, but we receive so much more from our international partners," said Fox, CEHD’s academic program coordinator for the Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning program and a research faculty member of CEHD's Center for International Education. "The development of intercultural competence and the effects of our collaborations are seen in our classes, our syllabi, and in the broader perspective that international mindedness brings to our work as educators and faculty."

Dr. Anastasia Samaras, professor of education, is co-Principal Investigator for Year 2 of the grant. Dr. Supriya Baily, associate director of the Center for International Education, served as co-Principal Investigator for Year 1.

In welcoming remarks to the visiting faculty, Dean Mark Ginsberg of the College of Education and Human Development tied the program to George Mason University’s vision of being a “university for the world.”

"The world is a much smaller place today than it ever was," Ginsberg said. "We have a special responsibility to lead by example. As we teach our students how to become professionals and global citizens, we must help them to understand what that really means. This collaboration between us at Mason and our colleagues from one of Pakistan’s leading universities embodies this responsibility."

Launched in fall 2015, CFETR is funded by the U.S.-Pakistan University Partnerships Program of the U.S.-Pakistan Academic Linkages Program, U.S. Department of State Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Islamabad. It is one of 22 partnerships between universities in the United States and Pakistan that have been funded by the State Department's University Partnerships Program since 2010.

The partnership between Mason and UMT sprouted in 2014, when a graduate student introduced Dr. Fox to Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad, UMT’s rector, and assistant professor Waqar Ahmed, director of UMT’s Center for Management Development. The three scholars were already making plans to develop a collaboration when the State Department issued a request for proposals for its University Partnerships Program.

"It was a dream for me to link up with a leading American university to share best practices in learning and teaching," said Dr. Murad. "I am truly amazed at the ongoing ripple effect of this exercise ... I could not foresee how far and deep it would be."

Richard Boyum, of the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, called Mason's CFETR "a textbook example" of what the University Partnerships Program aspires to accomplish. "They have a good model here of a capacity-building approach for international education and higher ed linkages, and it's exactly what Pakistan needs and wants."

George Mason University is a Research One institution and the largest public university in Virginia. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

For more information about the CFETR grant, visit