Madonna University Receives Fulbright Grant

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LIVONIA, MICH.Madonna University has been awarded $100,000 grant from the highly competitive U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) for fiscal year 2021.  Madonna University faculty, graduate students, and the project director will participate in a four-week, in-country program in the Philippines.  The Fulbright-Hays GPA program provides opportunities to engage in research, language training, and curriculum development projects overseas in the fields of modern foreign languages and area studies. 

This prestigious award will provide Madonna faculty and graduate students with the core competencies, information, and materials needed for curriculum development to incorporate knowledge of the Philippines into the broader curriculum, with a special emphasis on understanding the Filipino educational system. Connie Tingson Gatuz, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs and mission integration, and adjunct assistant professor in the higher education administration (HEA) program, will serve as the project director.

“This project addresses several priorities within Madonna University's strategic plan,” said Tingson-Gatuz. “The Philippines is an ideal host country to expand intercultural knowledge, study civic and global identity, and explore diverse perspectives.  This grant will strengthen partnerships that integrate the University’s mission and core values.” 

Building on six consecutive years of a Study Abroad and Service Learning Program in the Philippines, this intensive, four-week program will deepen the well-established connection between the two countries and cultures. 

The activities and efforts of this project will herald expanding partnerships between Madonna and the Filipino American Community Council of Michigan (FILAMCCO), the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA-MI), and the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM) to offer regular educational events and activities that promote Filipino culture and educate the broader population. 

Tingson-Gatuz indicated that the University will begin recruiting program participants during Fall Semester 2021, and they will participate in cultural orientation with the three Filipino-American organizations mentioned above. Then, in June 2022, if COVID-19 guidelines permit, the group will travel to the Philippines.

Through this program, Madonna education faculty will gain a deeper understanding of the Filipino educational system, as well as acquire the materials needed to expand existing courses and to develop new courses about the Philippines. They also will recruit faculty from other departments to add a focus on Filipino studies to their courses; and develop a network of faculty, students, and community members with an interest in the Philippines in order to build an understanding of Filipino culture across campus and in the neighboring community.

The Group Project Abroad will strengthen the relationship between Madonna and the partner institutions in the Philippines, including: University of San Agustin, Philippine Women’s University, Carlos Hilado Memorial State College, and Silay City, Negros Occidental government officials.

The project also offers benefits to the broader community, including the large and growing Filipino population in Michigan.