The South Asia Institute (SAI) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) will collaborate with the UT Global Initiative for Education and Leadership (UTGI) on an international exchange program in the humanities. SAI has hosted FJWU faculty for research and course development trainings since 2013. UTGI will introduce a pedagogy training component in the Spring of 2015.
Dr. Saleem will attend lectures taught by a selection of esteemed faculty, including members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, Provost Faculty Fellows, and notable University Teaching Award recipients. In addition, UTGI hopes to emphasize the role and benefits technology and social media have to offer in each of these introductions.
During Dr. Saleem’s Austin tenure, UTGI will facilitate opportunities for her to attend teacher trainings, collaborate with higher education mentors, and shadow select learning programs. UTGI will coordinate Dr. Saleem’s visit with UTeach-Liberal Arts (UTeach-LA), a secondary teacher preparation program. Dr. Saleem will meet with UTeach-LA faculty for in-depth discussions about their program model in addition to observing classes.
A top tier university, FJWU opened in 1998 as the first women’s university in Pakistan. Funded by the Punjab government, the institution’s student body reflects the diverse ethnicities and religious backgrounds of Islamabad-Rawalpindi.
The University of Texas at Austin and FJWU are the first of eight chosen to receive $999,600 out of $8.5 million in grants allotted by the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan and US Department of State for this program. Pakistan currently reports a literacy rate of 56%, yet this rate is as low as 12% for females in rural regions. Pakistan’s Ministry of Education estimates that less than 3% of university-aged women have access to higher education.
SAI was established in 2003 in the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin. The institute is a National Resource Center (NRC) funded by a title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education. SAI coordinates conferences, seminars, symposia, and community outreach programs, and provides Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to students studying in South Asia. The institute works with the Department of Asian Studies to promote the study of contemporary South Asian languages including Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
Over 1,000 Pakistani students and professionals travel to the United States each year through exchange programs. As part of an education assistance plan for Pakistan, these opportunities aim to improve schools, provide scholarships, and launch partnerships with the goal of creating a lasting linkages.