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Phifer Nicholson giving presentation

Major grant to boost MENA program

U.S. Department of Education supports project to prepare students for study and work in the Middle East and North Africa.

Wofford College has received a major federal grant to advance the study of the Middle East and North Africa from the U.S. Department of Education. The college earned the $173,487 grant through the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) Program for a two-year project, “Strengthening the Impact of the Middle Eastern and North African Program at Wofford College.”

The project will be directed by Dr. Philip C. Dorroll, assistant professor of religion, a faculty member in the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Program.

In keeping with UISFL’s mandate that the awardees share the costs of funded programs, the grant will cover 48 percent of the total cost of the project, with $186,138 in college resources, making up the remaining 52 percent.

“Through this grant, Wofford College will be significantly more equipped to prepare students to study, work and live in the MENA region,” Dorroll says. The overall impact of the program will be to extend the college’s global reach, strategically building on its strong profile in international programs.”

The project goal of strengthening the academic and cultural impact of Wofford’s MENA Program will be accomplished through three primary objectives:

  • Building the MENA program curriculum, including the Arabic course sequence.
  • Internationalizing the program, including establishing a new MENA region study abroad scholarship fund, intentionally integrating MENA study into the college’s model study abroad programming and expanding MENA Program faculty travel to the region.
  • Cultivating an interdisciplinary community of scholars and students of the MENA region through hosting pedagogical workshops for MENA program and other faculty members, inviting significant scholars of the MENA region as visiting speakers and building MENA faculty knowledge and skills by offering opportunities to attend key conferences.

“This enhancement to the MENA program, made possible by the UISFL grant, also will support the Department of Education’s goals for postsecondary institutions in the instruction of less commonly taught languages and international studies,” Dorroll adds. “Wofford faculty in the MENA Program and beyond will become exposed to new topics and perspectives that will enhance both their language and culture courses and impel their interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research in international studies. The faculty will be able to support their students’ aspirations for study abroad, international internships, graduate study and postgraduate employment.”

by Laura Hendrix Corbin