Highlighting the good works of GSU around the world

By Ann Claycombe


Gayle Nelson,Eric Friginal and May Khadim Al-Khazraji

Gayle Nelson and Eric Friginal, professors in the Department of Applied Linguistics, and May Khadim Al-Khazraji from the University of Baghdad, are teaming up as part of a three-year, $1 million collaboration to help improve the Iraqi school’s English language and literature programs.

“They’re still using textbooks from the 1970s because they’ve been so cut off,” says Nelson, who is also coordinator of international programs for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Friginal, the lead investigator for the project, says it will have several strands.

For one, there are those antiquated textbooks. There will also be teacher-training workshops, both at GSU and in Erbil, in the Kurdish area of Iraq.

But at heart, the project is about building daily connections between scholars. So Friginal and Nelson are creating what amounts to an online mentoring program in which GSU faculty members will advise Iraqi faculty. The groups will have their own website through uLearn, the same system used to create sites for GSU classes.

“Online social networking and academic discussions between GSU and UB students will produce meaningful cross-cultural experiences,” Friginal said.