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Alexander gets Fulbright-Hayes grant

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 24 - March 20, 1997

David Alexander, chair of Virginia Tech's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, has received a $59,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fulbright-Hays Program to enhance Chinese curricula at three public schools across Virginia. Alexander and Jianling Wang, professor at Western Kentucky University, will lead a delegation of approximately 15 educators to three cities in the People's Republic of China this summer.

The project, titled "A School-University Collaboration for Curriculum Development for the People's Republic of China," will consist of a series of seminars, field visits, and curriculum-development workshops. The four-week program will be held in conjunction with Beijing Normal University and the People's Education Press (PEP), the largest education press in China responsible for curriculum development and textbook compilation and publication for all elementary and secondary school children in China.

Three Virginia public schools will participate in the project. McLean High School in Fairfax County will focus on enhancing its Chinese-language instruction. Menchville High School in Newport News will further develop its Asian business economics curriculum. And the Governor's International School in Richmond will enhance its overall international curriculum with emphasis on history and culture. Two teachers and one curriculum specialist from each of the three high schools will develop specific curriculum units for high-school students while in China.

"Our emphasis will be on developing curricula that reflect the modernization process occurring in China and its national and international impact on social, economic, and educational systems," Alexander said. "The three cities we have selected to visit-Beijing, Xian, and Shijiazhuang-represent both ancient and modern culture in China."

Alexander has extensive experience in China, making his first trip in 1993 by invitation of the PEP.

Virginia Tech is working with faculty members from Western Kentucky and Murray State University on the program. The group will use Murray State University's undergraduate center, located in Beijing.

Since 1961, the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program has awarded grants to universities, state departments of education, and private nonprofit educational organizations to provide training opportunities for faculty, teachers, and students in foreign countries where the United States has diplomatic representation. Under this program, awards are made to conduct overseas group projects in research, training, and curriculum development.

The delegation will leave for China in late June.