ASU institute hosts Palestinian delegation visit from An-Najah National University

The visit was facilitated by the 'Entrepreneurship Education for the Humanities and Social Sciences' grant

June 2, 2022

The Institute for Humanities Research at ASU hosted Palestinian faculty from An-Najah National University May 23–27.

The visit was facilitated by a $60,000 grant, “Entrepreneurship Education for the Humanities and Social Sciences," submitted by Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The grant is part of the Institute of International Education's Sustainable U.S.-Palestinian Higher Education Partnerships (SUPHEP) program. Group photo of faculty from ASU and An-Najah University in Sedona, Arizona, with mountain scenery in the background. Jafar Ahabre (front, An-Najah National University) with (back row, from left to right) Jake Leveton (Institute for Humanities Research, ASU), Catherine O’Donnell (School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, ASU), Ahmad Qabaha (An-Najah National University), Asaad Taffal (An-Najah National University) and Matthew Casey-Pariseault (School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, ASU) in Sedona. Download Full Image

The delegation included Professor Ahmad Qabaha, American studies program; Professor Asad Taffal, sociologist; and Professor Jafar Subhi Hardan Ahabre, archeologist — all of whom visited Arizona State University to gain expertise in entrepreneurial curricula and methodologies.

ASU faculty members, as well as outside faculty and business leaders, were on hand to present workshops and seminars on entrepreneurial opportunities. The delegation was welcomed by Cohen; Nicole Anderson, director of the Institute for Humanities Research; and Ron Broglio, associate director of the institute.

“The (institute) is thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Palestinian faculty members from An-Najah National University,” Anderson said. “We hope that this collaboration can facilitate entrepreneurial opportunities that the delegation can implement through their curriculum to better prepare their students for careers outside the university.”

The U.S. Department of State's Palestinian Affairs Unit, which funds the SUPHEP program, seeks to move the Palestinian economy to a model of healthy and sustainable private sector-led investment, growth and job creation. Through public diplomacy, the unit harnesses the power of U.S. higher education and promotes U.S. values and interests through collaborative academic and professional exchanges, English language learning and promotion of women's empowerment and entrepreneurship development, as well as initiatives for young Palestinians to tap into career-enhancing opportunities involving science, technology and innovation.

An-Najah National University is interested in entrepreneurship in order to help students acquire the skills they need to become job creators after graduation, through curricula and study plans.

The SUPHEP program aims to increase internationalization efforts between U.S. and Palestinian institutions through innovative, sustainable partnerships.

The main objectives of the program are to:

  • Cultivate internationalization: Provide higher education leaders with a deeper understanding of the value of international partnerships, the higher education partnership landscape and methods of collaboration to strengthen academic linkages.
  • Foster relationships: Enable higher education leaders to form relationships with counterparts that serve as a basis for innovative collaborative activities.
  • Build sustainability: Empower higher education institutions to build upon initial short-term activities to develop longer-term, sustainable partnerships.

The two-year program will center around a cohort of 10 higher education institutions — five American institutions and five Palestinian institutions – which will be eligible for seed grant funding to support creative partnership activities. In addition to seed grants, the program will include informational webinars, virtual discussions, workshops (potentially in person) and partnership coaching.

Faculty and business leaders who participated in presentations included: Raees Abbas Mohamad, adjunct professor of law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and partner at RM Warner Law, specializing in entrepreneurship and globally-oriented ecommerce; Julian Knowles, discipline chair, media and communications, Macquarie University, Sydney; Ruby Macksoud, director of internships, Department of English, ASU; Patrick Lynch, clinical assistant professor of analytics and leadership, Thunderbird School of Global Management, ASU; Hanna Layton, founder and director of Thrive Consultancy, working with entrepreneurs and small businesses to become economically viable; Craig Hedges, director, Innovation Space, and assistant clinical professor, The Design Institute, The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; Catherine O’Donnell, ASU’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies; Peter Van Cleave, director of online programs and clinical assistant professor of history, ASU's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies; Matthew Casey-Pariseault, clinical assistant professor of history, ASU’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies; Mark Esposito, clinical professor of global shifts and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Thunderbird School of Global Management; and Wanda Dalla Costa, institute professor, The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

The delegation also had the opportunity to explore Arizona, with a side trip to Sedona and Boynton Canyon with ASU’s Catherine O’Donnell and Matthew Casey-Pariseault from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, and also visited other local attractions, including the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

The Sustainable U.S. – Palestinian Higher Education Partnerships Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State Palestinian Affairs Unit.

Mina Lajevardi

Marketing and Communications Specialist, Sr., Institute for Humanities Research


Study indicates perceived impact of a STEM instructor revealing LGBTQ identity to students

June 2, 2022

A new study is the first to indicate the perceived impact of an instructor revealing her LGBTQ identity to students in the U.S.

The study, published in Life Sciences Education, was co-authored by Carly Busch, a biology education PhD candidate in the School of Life Sciences, and co-advisers Sara Brownell and Katelyn Cooper Hand writing a chemistry equation on a piece of paper. Download Full Image

In the study, an instructor revealed her identity to her large-enrollment undergraduate biology course in less than three seconds. She did not mention her LGBTQ identity to the class at any other point during the term.

Eight weeks later, researchers surveyed students about the perceived impact of the instructor sharing this information with them. 

Despite common concerns about whether it is appropriate for an instructor to reveal their LGBTQ identity to students and the potential for the instructor to face negative consequences, the study’s findings were encouraging:

  • Nearly two-thirds of students who remembered the instructor revealing her LGBTQ identity reported that it had a positive impact on their overall experience in the course.

  • More than 70% of all students perceived that the instructor revealing her identity increased their feelings of connectedness with her and their willingness to approach her for mentorship.

  • It also increased the majority of students’ confidence in their ability to pursue a career in science, their sense of belonging in the course and their sense of belonging within the scientific community.

“We have previously interviewed LGBTQ+ instructors, and many of them said that they might be willing to reveal their identity to students in the classroom if it could positively benefit the students, but we never had the evidence to show instructors the benefits,” Brownell said.

“We are hopeful that this study can help encourage LGBTQ+ instructors who are on the fence about revealing their LGBTQ+ identity to come out, and ultimately increase representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in science.”

Though LGBTQ students and women were more likely to note a positive impact of the instructor’s decision to reveal her identity, the majority of students noted positive outcomes, and 96.1% of students perceived that it is appropriate for a STEM instructor to reveal their LGBTQ identity during a course.

“Having visible LGBTQ+ role models in STEM can be incredibly impactful for students, and I’m excited to be contributing to research that may be able to increase that representation,” Busch said.

“It’s expected that LGBTQ+ students would appreciate and benefit from their instructors coming out in class, but what I have found so interesting about this work is the extent to which students who are not part of the LGBTQ+ community also say that they benefit from an instructor coming out.”

The research team was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to continue their research at a larger scale.

“This study was done in one class with one instructor, so we can't generalize from a single study,” Brownell said.

“Our funding from the National Science Foundation will allow us to expand this to many different instructors, in different geographic areas, to see if we can show similar benefits to students.”

Lauren Whitby

Digital Marketing Manager, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences