Indiana Wesleyan University is pleased to announce that Dr. James Freemyer, a professor in the Doctorate of Leadership Program, has been awarded a coveted Fulbright grant to teach and conduct research this fall at Limerick University in Limerick, Ireland.
During his time there, Freemyer will lead a course on methods of teaching mathematics for undergraduate students, as well as a statistics course for graduate students. The primary focus of his time there, however, will be to continue his research on the best methods that secondary educators can use to motivate their students to pursue careers in the science, technology,engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas.
“My feeling is that high school math teachers tend to turn kids off STEM areas,” Freemyer states. “I think we can do a better job of teaching high school math and motivating some excitement about choosing a STEM career, which allows these kids the opportunity to perhaps have a more successful future. As James Stigler and James Hiebert said in The Teaching Gap, ‘We don’t have a problem with our teachers, but with our teaching.’ I have a strong passion for discovering better math teaching methodologies and ways to get kids excited about math.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program has provided approximately 325,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the US. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Currently the Fulbright Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.
Freemyer is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2014-2015. Criteria for selection includes consideration of the applicant’s professional credentials, the excellence of their work as evidenced by the quality of publications, grants, fellowships, honors, awards, conference papers, exhibitions, compositions and performances, and their record of service.
Freemyer worked for nearly a year on his Fulbright application. “Frankly, it felt like I was going through my dissertation all over again,” he said. After having his application selected by a Fulbright committee in the U.S., it then had to be reviewed and approved by a second commission in Ireland. Limerick University was the logical choice for Freemyer’s research topic. Ireland’s national center for STEM is located at the University, which will allow Freemyer access to broader, more international resources to deepen his work. Freemyer and his wife will leave Indiana in late July. He will give a paper at a conference in Portugal in late August before beginning his time at Limerick in early September.
In addition to the Fulbright award, Freemyer applied for and received a Lilly Foundation grant to extend his residence in Ireland by two weeks. He will spend that time traveling around the UK, interviewing math teachers to add to his research. “My dream is to eventually write a book to help high school principals work with their math teachers to get kids excited about math. Having this opportunity will further enrich that book, give it an international flavor and broaden the base of knowledge and inspiration.”
For more information, visit the Fulbright Program’s website, or see Dr. Freemyer’s curriculum vitae.