Daria Pizzuto, M.A. ’13, a doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Human Services, has received a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grant to conduct innovative research on teaching Spanish through authentic literature in Chile.
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program recognizes and encourages excellence in teaching in the U.S. and abroad. It allows U.S. and international teachers to receive grants to study at a university, observe classes and complete a project pertaining to their field of educational inquiry during their time abroad. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.
Pizzuto credits the higher education leadership, management and policy program for providing her with the skillset needed to receive such an honor. “As a Ph.D. student at Seton Hall, I feel like I have an advantage over other applicants and awardees,” she said. “The faculty and my coursework prepared me to produce a sound review of literature and methodology in my research proposal for the Fulbright application, and get it successfully accepted. I know that the things I learned in this program will be a huge benefit to me as further my research abroad.”
The awardee, a world language teacher in Basking Ridge, is one of 45 U.S. citizens who will travel aboard through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program in 2016-2017. Pizzuto will spend six months immersing herself in Chilean Spanish education beginning in March 2017.
Pizzuto explained the basis of her study. “Research shows that literature-based instruction enhances communicative performance, helps students acquire life skills and leads to vocabulary and comprehension gains,” she said. “Yet, it is a challenge in the U.S. to find authentic middle grade novels written in Spanish by a native Spanish-speaking author. Since Chile has a rich children’s literature tradition, it is my hope that I will be able to examine and analyze Chilean children’s literature and use it as a foundation to create an innovative, literature-based Spanish curriculum to be used in American schools.”
She also plans to conduct interviews with Chilean educators and students. “I want to speak to Chilean teachers and students and go to their libraries in order to see how the educators teach Spanish with the literature that they use,” said Pizzuto. ‘This will allow me to create curriculum in my role as an educator, collaborate with international educators and share my findings with colleagues and policymakers.”
“From our first discussion it was evident that Daria looked at higher education with a global perspective,” said Professor Joseph Stetar, who specializes in international higher education and inspired Pizzuto to apply for the grant. “I encouraged Daria, based upon the high quality of her work, to pursue international fellowship and exchange opportunities like Fulbright. After that, I stepped back and let her run.”
“The Ph.D. program gives me the confidence to challenge the status quo, deliver an academic argument and seek out opportunities like this Fulbright Award,” said Pizzuto. “I am always encouraged by professors, like Dr. Stetar, to come up with original ideas to research and explore.”
Pizzuto, who is originally from Russia, has taken advantage of her time at Seton Hall. She serves as president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and has attended and presented at conferences in Austria, India, Lithuania, Nepal and Switzerland.
“One of the goals of my research is to get the most authentic resources as possible and bring them back to New Jersey where my students can study Spanish with the most robust literature directly from Chile,” said Pizzuto. “I look forward to representing Seton Hall and my school in the coming months and hope to advance the research on Spanish curriculum and make a real difference in the lives of my students.”
The Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy, offered through Seton Hall University's College of Education and Human Services, is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the interrelated societal and organizational dimensions of higher education, in preparation for senior administrative, policy development and management posts in colleges and universities, as well as government agencies and foundations, or for careers in teaching and research. The program offers the opportunity to focus in areas, such as administration and education policy, international and comparative higher education, organizational culture and change and the academic profession.
In addition to the Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy program, the Graduate Programs of Higher Education offer a M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Ed.D. in Higher Educational Leadership, Management and Policy and Ph.D. in Education Research, Assessment and Program Evaluation. For more information, please visit the website here.