By Dr. Hanan Naser, Bahrain
My recent elevation to Associate Provost is a direct testament to my unwavering commitment to professional development. A significant catalyst in this trajectory was my participation in the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars (SUSI) program on U.S. Economics and Business, funded by the US. Department of States’ Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). This intensive six-week program, held from July 1st to August 11th, 2022, proved to be an invaluable crucible for refining my expertise across a diverse range of disciplines.
SUSI presented me with a wealth of opportunities to enhance my pedagogical repertoire. Analyzing program designs and exploring innovative approaches within the context of American higher education institutions broadened my perspective on curriculum development and instructional methodologies. The impact was immediate, as I seamlessly integrated fresh insights and diverse pedagogical strategies into my teaching, leading to a demonstrably more engaging and enriching learning experience for my students.
Beyond the confines of the classroom, SUSI fostered a vibrant research environment. The symposium, where scholars from across the globe converged to present their work and engage in stimulating discourse, proved to be a particularly fertile ground for collaboration. This intellectual exchange led to the exciting initiation of two collaborative research projects: one with esteemed colleagues from Uzbekistan and Bangladesh, and another with partners from Latin America. Under the expert mentorship of Dr. Brunel, Associate Dean at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, my leadership, strategic thinking, and research agenda were significantly bolstered.
The program’s multidisciplinary approach delved into crucial aspects of socioeconomics, the intricate interplay between business and finance, and the ongoing pursuit of equitable employment practices. Engaging case studies, such as the one exploring the complex nexus of climate change, U.S. business innovation, and economic theory, broadened my understanding of these challenging landscapes. Meeting diverse business leaders and small business owners provided me with an invaluable firsthand exposure to the dynamics of the American economy. This experiential learning sharpened my leadership skills and reinforced my ability to navigate complex stakeholder environments with competence and confidence.
Diverse scholars from 16 countries weren’t just colleagues at SUSI, they were catalysts. Sharing unique perspectives broadened my economic understanding and challenged my assumptions. We collaborated on research, honing communication, and teamwork skills as we forged insights from contrasting viewpoints. This wasn’t just global economics; it was a masterclass in adaptability, empathy, and collective learning. It’s a gift I carry with me, enriching every interaction both inside and outside academia.
SUSI wasn’t just intense, it was rich. Insightful lectures, cultural visits, volunteer work, and collaborative projects fostered social awareness, teamwork, and crucial leadership skills for contemporary higher education. It wasn’t just about gaining knowledge; it was about transforming myself to navigate the future.
In conclusion, the SUSI program wasn’t just about U.S. economics and business program; it was a springboard for my professional growth. The knowledge, skills, and connections I gained during those six weeks played a pivotal role in my journey from Dean to Associate Provost. I am deeply grateful for this transformative experience and its lasting impact on my professional trajectory.
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.