The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Program from the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a two-year grant to the University of Central Florida’s College of Arts and Humanities. The program will fund a group study to Argentina, led by Maria C. Santana, director of the UCF Women’s and Gender Studies program and Maria Redmon, senior instructor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
Santana and Redmon proposed a three-stage project including pre-departure, in-country and post-travel educational activities with eight K-12 faculty/administrators and four university faculty focusing on language, culture, history and politics. The total amount needed for the project is $116,317. Of that need, $95,348 was awarded by the federal agency, UCF will be providing $19,001 and $1,968 will be coming from other sources.
“This is as a critical means to understand the roles and realities of women in Argentina as keepers of family history and transformation within society,” their proposal states. “Women are, for the most part, responsible for the advancement, retention and achievements of the members of a family in the context of Argentina. Studying women and their roles in society will allow K-12 teachers and university faculty to understand more fully the dynamics of family structure and power within the Latino community.”
Santana and Redmon also noted that in Florida, as in the rest of the United States, the Latino population growth is a significant element to consider while developing teaching activities and curricular innovations. The duo selected Argentina for two key reasons: its high literacy rate, and its rich history as a nation of immigrants. These are two conditions it shares with the United States. Using the central theme of women’s roles as a lens to study history, literature, economics, politics, and culture is a strategic vehicle to promote and improve language and cultural proficiency, and to enrich the overall experience of the participants.
“In keeping with this approach, our participants will select artifacts and build teaching materials to utilize in their classroom instruction and curricular development projects,” says Santana.
Santana and Redmon will visit Argentina with a group of educators and colleagues. They will study and share knowledge of the contributions of Argentine women to the development of a nation. “It is a unique opportunity to be immersed in the past and present and experience the hopes and dreams for the future of Argentina,” Santana comments.
Redmon says, “To live and study Spanish language in Buenos Aires will provide opportunity to develop a command of the language and culture of Argentina to then take this knowledge to the classrooms and enrich students and professor in various disciplines.”
The content for this program will be available at projects.cah.ucf.edu/argentina.
To learn more about the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, visit www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsgpa/index.html.