Georgia State University Assistant Professor Sue Kasun has been named a Fulbright-García Robles U.S. Scholar.
The scholarship, granted by the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (COMEXUS), will allow her to conduct research and teach at the State University of Hidalgo in Pachuca, Mexico, for nine months.
“I can’t wait to meet my colleagues at the university where we can strengthen partnerships across borders and help improve multilingualism across continents,” she said prior to her departure. She has already been invited to be a plenary speaker at an international conference her host university is holding in Hidalgo and provide professional development to local teachers of language instruction.
Her Fulbright project, entitled, “Transnational Approaches to TEFL: Partnering at the Local Level for English Language Development,” focuses on ways teachers can use culturally-relevant teaching practices to not only engage students in learning English, but also to create a respectful classroom that honors alternate ways of knowing for all students.
“This approach deeply engages the usually overlooked transnational practices of Mexican learners of English – such as the consumption and production of social media, music and film, as well as powerful emotional connections with family spanning borders – toward students’ improved acquisition of English,” she explained in her Fulbright application.
Kasun’s research spans 20 years of working with immigrants and living as a guest educator in Mexico reframes understandings of marginalized populations. Her work helps improve instruction and the creation of more equitable education, in large part by drawing on the wisdom of the marginalized to show how and why educators must build bridges among disparate populations toward improving historically inequitable education in the U.S. – especially the education of English Language Learners (ELLs).
To date, Kasun has contributed 27 peer-reviewed scholarly publications to national and international top-tier journals including Teachers College Record, Anthropology and Education Quarterly and TESOL Quarterly. She has authored 10 book chapters and received the 2017 William Elgin Wickenden Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, which is given to the best article in The Journal of Engineering Education, the leading journal in engineering education.
As director of the Center for Transnational and Multilingual Education, a research hub established in Georgia State’s College of Education & Human Development this year, Kasun plans to expand multilingualism and understandings of transnationalism throughout the U.S., beginning with building partnerships between Georgia State and the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo. Her Fulbright work during the 2017-2018 will lay the foundations for building bridges of understanding between Mexican and U.S. cultures, allowing the voices of marginalized people to be linked across borders.
For more information about the Fulbright program, visit https://www.cies.org.