In 2008, Feruza Masharipova, a teacher from Uzbekistan, participated in the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) at The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). During her semester at the University, she learned about new educational perspectives, teaching methods, and academic materials and resources.
Feruza was first introduced to the program by two of her colleagues from Urgench State University. “Their enthusiasm, insight, and new ways of managing universities,” she said, is the reason she applied to the program. “I also wanted to expand knowledge and expertise in my respective academic fields.”
During her time in the program, Feruza became particularly interested in the nature of learning in the U.S. education system. “U.S. universities are not only places where students are taught; they are also research institutions responsible for questioning existing knowledge and producing new knowledge,” commented Feruza. Her exposure to the U.S. education system also introduced her to diverse educational tools and resources. “ I discovered online courses (blackboard access), virtual conferences…[and] I explored and learned a lot about digital technology-based education, [too],” said Feruza, reminiscing on the creative and engaging instructional techniques that she learned during the JFDP.
While at UNL, Feruza had the opportunity to work with Marilyn L. Grady, Ph.D., professor of educational administration and editor of UNL’s Journal of Women in Educational Leadership. “ By exploring her leadership research, I recognized that there are some key challenges for Uzbekistan women in educational leadership,” Feruza remarked. To help overcome these challenges, she developed a “Woman of the Month” contest that included a monthly article about each of the winners. “We are doing this project because it empowers women at our university, [Urgench State University]…and is spiritually motivating to women.”
Feruza’s experience in the program has been vital to her professional development. “Without hesitation I can say the JFDP equipped me with valuable knowledge and experience,” said Feruza. Since her return to Uzbekistan, she has organized seminars, trainings, workshops on the U.S. education system, created the Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages in the United States of America teaching manual, and used materials from her time on the JFDP as resources for ten scientific articles that she has since published. Currently, Feruza is writing a book about women educational leaders at Urgench State University that is scheduled for release in the upcoming year. Feruza says that the JFDP program has been invaluable to her educational leadership and has helped her to embrace her teaching. She says that her “achievements were the fruits of the JFDP program.”
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