Indiana University selects two School of Education faculty for teaching, research, and service honors

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two faculty members of the Indiana University School of Education have been named as honorees with IU awards for outstanding teaching, research, and services to the university.

The President's Award, which was established in 1974 to recognize outstanding teaching, research or service, will go to Faridah Pawan, an associate professor in the Department of Literacy, Culture and Language Education in the School of Education at IU Bloomington.

Heidi Ross, professor of educational policy studies and comparative education in the School of Education at IU Bloomington, will receive the John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies. The Ryan Award was initiated in 1991 and named for the man who was president of IU from 1971 to 1987. John Ryan, who died in August, was instrumental in fostering IU's commitment to excellence in international education. The award honors faculty members or librarians who have made exceptional contributions to the university's international programs and studies.

President Michael McRobbie will present the awards at the 2012 Celebration of Distinguished Teaching dinner on April 20. Overall, eleven faculty members and four doctoral students will be recognized.

More about the award-winning faculty:

Faridah Pawan:

For Faridah Pawan, collaboration is a second language.

As an associate professor of language education at Indiana University Bloomington, she has created two federally funded and three state-funded programs to help Indiana classroom teachers strengthen their knowledge base in teaching English as a Second Language and to collaborate in working with students whose first language is other than English.

During her recent sabbatical in Beijing, Pawan collaborated with Chinese colleagues at two universities in their professional development programs for Chinese public school teachers who teach English as a Foreign Language. Pawan also collaborated with the Peace Corps in developing a customized and hybrid master's degree program for Peace Corps volunteers teaching English overseas.

Pawan grew up in Malaysia, where acquiring a second language is synonymous with socioeconomic and professional advancement. Through scholarships and financial aid, learning English and the pursuit of higher education were made possible for her, but many other low-income Malaysians didn't have the same chance. Keeping in mind the opportunities that she had been given, Pawan dedicated herself to learning English and became the first in her family to complete college.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Pawan taught English to Navajo students in Arizona, reinforcing the critical role of ESL for non-native speakers. In graduate school, she developed a research interest in identifying and comparing professorial literacy expectations of international and U.S. students, laying the groundwork for her career in bridging language and achievement gaps.

"It's hard to overestimate the energy and effectiveness of Professor Pawan and her value to the Indiana University School of Education," says Gerardo González, dean of the school.

Pawan's work in ESL and EFL is based upon her sociocultural perspective as a teacher-educator.

"I see my learning and development as being grounded in the experiences of the communities that I work and live in, whether they are in Malaysia, China or the U.S.," Pawan says. "Within the same framework, I subscribe to a vision of the profession in which teaching, research and service inform and transform one another."

Pawan's former graduate student Ginger Sietman, of Crown Point, Ind., is proud to call Pawan her mentor. Sietman describes her co-editing experience with Pawan (on the Collaborative Partnerships Between ESL and Classroom Teachers Series book, "Helping English Language Learners Succeed in Middle and High Schools") as her most challenging but rewarding project in graduate school, apart from her dissertation.

Jaehan Park, a current doctoral student from South Korea, sees Pawan as a teacher who strives for inclusiveness in the classroom. Park notes that her extensive use of different instructional mediums and the promotion of collaboration make room for both international and U.S. students to work together in ways that validate their background experiences. Park helps Pawan to coordinate one of her programs and says that Pawan mentors him by trusting in him, setting high standards and providing clear directions for improvement.

"I have observed Dr. Pawan's teaching and have enjoyed the impact her new teaching ideas have had on me and other colleagues," says Larry Mikulecky, chair of the Department of Literacy, Culture and Language Education in the IU School of Education. "Her enthusiasm for using new technologies to enhance collaboration and learning have won over both newer and older colleagues and changed for the better the new teaching efforts made by our department."

Pawan was the recipient of the Burton W. Gorman Teaching Award from the School of Education in 2007 and the national TESOL/Heinle and Heinle Award in Excellence in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language in 2001.

Pawan's overarching goal is to improve effective instruction for English language learners through teacher professional development. For her combined efforts in this area, she has to date acquired and sustained funding from federal and state sources that totals $2,665,211. Two of her projects, TACIT (Tandem Certification of Indiana Teachers) and the ICP (Interdisciplinary Collaborative Program), have been nominated for awards, and teachers who were students in these programs have been recognized with awards of their own.

"In just a decade on our faculty, Professor Pawan has distinguished herself as an innovator in helping people across the world learn English," González says. "We should recognize that in this effort, Faridah Pawan is not just effectively teaching IU students, but quite literally reaching the world through her work."

Heidi Ross:

Heidi RossHeidi Ross describes her academic fields as "not just geographical and intellectual locations, but also socially constructed fields of lifelong obligation -- to students, colleagues, knowledge construction and professional development." As the director of the East Asian Studies Center and co-director of the Australian National University-Indiana University Pan-Asian Institute, she served as an integral member of the Indiana University Bloomington International Studies Task Force.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed: Since becoming director of the East Asian Studies Center, she has annually been the recipient of a grant from the Freeman Foundation to support her work as project director of the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, a project developed to educate teachers of American middle and high schoolers about East Asian studies. Additionally, Ross has been instrumental on the advisory board of the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis and assisted in partnering the School of Education with Chinese and Japanese schools to facilitate the Cultural Immersion Projects program.

Martha McCarthy, Chancellor's Professor Emerita and former chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, calls Ross' teaching abilities legendary: "She is a world-renowned professor of comparative and international education who has spent her career building bridges for Indiana University students to many other institutions and intellectuals worldwide, especially those in Asia." In addition to taking two groups of IU undergraduates to China and Japan to study educational reform, Ross has developed mentoring partnerships between American graduate students and Chinese host families.

She has also hosted a number of visiting Chinese and Japanese scholars at IU. Further, McCarthy says, Ross has, since 2005, found "over $3 million in funds to support undergraduate teaching and language training and professional development and study-abroad opportunities for thousands of secondary public school teachers."

These endeavors have heightened interest in East Asia among students and teachers at IU and throughout Indiana. Of her East Asian Studies Center directorship, colleague Robert Eno says, "I can say with assurance that no director has ever provided the type of engagement and leadership in sustaining and enlarging IU's successes."

According to Gary Crow, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Ross is a living testament of international service "in the way she collaborates with other faculty, mentors both U.S. and international graduate students, facilitates IU's visibility to the East Asian area, and demonstrates sensitivity and awareness of our global connections."

Not surprisingly, Ross' research interests reflect her dedication to global awareness. Concerns with issues pertaining to inequality and social mobility have led her to study such specialized areas as social capital among marginalized Chinese and Indian girls. Ross' work has made a significant impact in the lives of hundreds of girls in the Shaanxi Province of China, providing them with scholarships to continue their educations.

A prominent and influential scholar, Ross has more than 50 publications to her name. She has produced two books, co-edited two volumes and published articles in such prestigious professional journals as Comparative Education Review, Compare, Journal of Women and Gender Studies, and History of Education Quarterly. Within her specialty of Asian education, the journals China Yearbook in Education, International Journal of Chinese Education, Journal of Asian Studies and Chinese Research Perspectives on Educational Development have all benefited from her editorial expertise.

Ross' colleagues assert that "without a doubt, she has single-handedly accounted for a great increase in the quality and volume of our graduate applicants from East Asia, and she has worked tirelessly on behalf of these students, identifying opportunities for them to participate professionally, co-authoring and mentoring them to success."

"In sum," one concludes, "Dr. Ross is an exceptionally effective leader and cross-cultural communicator, and her work in and with China has brought great recognition to Indiana University. Across the world, the nation, the state and the campus, Dr. Ross' energy and ideas have made a significant difference."