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ASU's Polytechnic campus professor receives Fulbright award to study in Turkey

September 30, 2002

The U.S. Department of State has awarded ASU's Polytechnic campus professor Gary M. Grossman a 2002-03 Fulbright Scholar appointment as a Senior Research Scholar. He is currently in Turkey for what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime academic experience with far-reaching benefits.

Grossman left in September for Ankara, Turkey, where he will spend the academic year at Middle East Technical University, working on his proposed Fulbright research project, as well as working with Turkey's Council of Higher Education and an internationally-funded program known as the Southeastern Anatolia Project.

Grossman, an associate professor of information and management technology, will spend the bulk of his time evaluating the effectiveness of an ambitious, technologically-intensive, top-to-bottom educational reform effort Turkey has initiated over the past twenty years. Grossman describes the project as one of the largest and most comprehensive anywhere in the world.

He also will teach a course, "Changing World Perspectives in Education," at Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

"I am very honored to have been selected," Grossman said. "I'm looking forward to an important and challenging experience, the kind of opportunity someone who does what I do dreams about."

College of Technology and Innovation Dean Al McHenry described the Fulbright award not only as an honor to Grossman, but as "one that will also greatly benefit our graduate program in Global Technology and Development. Dr. Grossman has been the intellectual leader of the GTD program from its inception," McHenry said.

Grossman said that Turkey's "very ambitious" educational reform program began in the 1980s and covered a full spectrum, not only pre-school to university-level instruction but also including teacher-training and new school construction. The effort incorporates heavy infusion of new technologies, "at a cost," Grossman said, "of billions of U.S. dollars." The World Bank, the United Nations, and other international partners funded the program.

"By now, the first fruits of this effort should be emerging and available for study," Grossman said. "That will be my job."

Grossman said ASU's Polytechnic campus's International Projects Unit led a number of academic contributions to Turkey's educational reform in the 1990s, including faculty and students from both ASU's Polytechnic campus and ASU Main, as well coordinating the contributions from other U.S. universities, such as Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota and Texas Tech universities. The major focal points of these projects were pre-service teacher training and curriculum development in Turkish universities.

"We were by no means central players in the whole scheme of their huge educational reform effort, but we did have a hand in several things," he said. "It will be interesting to see the difference our work with Turkey has made over the years."

He expects politics to provide another point of interest. "In comparison with Turkey, American politics are very dull," Grossman said. "Right now, they are trying to restructure themselves in order to join the European Union, while at the same time they are dealing with a severe economic crisis. How they get through these straits will determine the future of the nation, one of the real test cases for our study of development in GTD at ASU. This will be interesting, to say the least."

The ASU's Polytechnic campus professor expects his Fulbright work to provide a wealth of data for professional papers and perhaps provide the centerpiece for a book exploring the interactions between technology, social structure and education, the area in which Grossman specializes.