Faculty Awarded Two Fulbright Scholarships for Fall

In the days when A. J. Gordon traveled the globe to preach, his wife, Maria, was far more than a traveling companion. With an agenda of her own, Maria spoke to crowds from Boston to London, on topics ranging from theology to temperance. Following in Maria’s legacy of global learning, two members of Gordon College’s faculty are traveling the world this fall on esteemed Fulbright Awards.

For her third career Fulbright, Provost Janel Curry will help develop a strategy and plan for a center for leadership at Forman Christian College, an independent liberal arts university in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. About 5,000 miles west, Assistant Professor of Economics and Business Kristen Cooper ’06 will teach and conduct research at the Universidad de La Laguna on Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands.

Curry’s and Cooper’s Fulbright Scholarships are the second and third awarded to Gordon faculty in just two years—a rare accomplishment for liberal arts colleges; in 2018, Professor of Biology Greg Keller received a Fulbright Scholarship to research “Conservation Biology of Songbirds in Fragmented Iceland Landscapes” with The Arctic Initiative and the University of Iceland.

“We are extremely proud of Janel Curry, Kristen Cooper and Greg Keller for achieving such prestigious honors,” says Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay. “Receiving these well-deserved Fulbright Scholar Awards highlights the excellent scholarship of our faculty and underscores Gordon’s place among the nation’s top institutions.”

Equipping ethical leaders in Pakistan

Under a Fulbright Specialist Award—which sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants—Curry will spend six weeks at Forman Christian College, where she will assist in the College’s long-term goal to establish a nationally prominent center for leadership by doing a feasibility analysis and assisting with the development of a five-year strategy.

Building on her work for the national Women in Leadership study, Curry’s projects will help Forman to identify and secure the right human and financial resources, and to create the local and international partnerships necessary to establish the center. She has already helped create a framework for a consultation on how to develop such a strategy.

“Forman Christian College is committed to raising up strong, ethical, public-minded leaders whose deepest desire is to see the country of Pakistan thrive,” says Curry. “The institution would like to serve the nation in the development of these leaders, but it needs to be intentional, sensitive to the cultural and religious divides, and thus contextualized its strategy within this particularly challenging time in Pakistan.”

The center, she says, will not only develop the leadership skills of students at FC College, but also has executive education programs for corporate leaders, senior civil servants and political leaders.

“Leadership can be taught through the provision of frameworks, practice and mentoring,” Curry says. “Effective leadership development involves both inherent personal characteristics and learned behaviors which contribute to the development of ethical and competent leaders.”

She will also participate in the preparation for the institution to host a visitor from the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as Forman Christian College explores the route to American accreditation.

Measuring well-being in Spain

For Cooper, the Fulbright experience will focus on research and teaching. Along with colleagues from the University of Southern California, University of Colorado-Boulder, and Hebrew University, Cooper aims to develop a new survey-based measure of well-being—an index of personal well-being—for use in economic analysis.

During the project period, Cooper plans to continue existing work on that project and to take some first steps toward extending their method to the Spanish language: translating the conceptual framework to Spanish, developing a list of aspects of well-being in Spanish for further research, and identifying potential collaborators and individuals who may use the survey tool in their own research.

“I look forward to studying well-being measurement from the perspective of a different historical and cultural context,” says Cooper. “And I hope that by developing pedagogy based on my team’s well-being research, I will advance both our scientific work and its accessibility to undergraduates.”

In Cooper’s teaching activities, she will contribute lectures to related courses in the Facultad de Economía, Empresa y Turismo (School of Economics, Business, and Tourism) at the Universidad de La Laguna.

“It is a privilege to receive a Fulbright Scholar Award, and I seek to make the most of this opportunity,” she says. “I am certain that engaging with scholars and students at Universidad de La Laguna will enrich my future teaching as well as my research.”