Unique Opportunities Provided for Study and Research
Every participant in the program allocated a mentoring colleague—a faculty member from the College of Education. These colleagues helped researchers to get to know different university buildings, available services, norms and regulations and helped in their research. Some participants were given intensive support that included being accompanied to formal and informal meetings, which helped enormously in their integration into university events and courses.
My mentor was an Associate Professor, a veteran faculty member who headed one of the teacher education programs. Because I wanted to research the professional development of colleagues from the faculty members, I asked her to help me recruit a research population. Happily, she immediately cooperated and sent a request by email to four lecturers who taught on the program she headed. There was no response for about a fortnight and I was really anxious that my research was doomed. However, after she sent out a reminder email, everyone she had contacted responded positively and agreed to participate.
Throughout the research, I made sure to keep my mentoring colleague advised of progress.
I had hoped that she would be able to be more deeply involved and I even suggested that she be a partner in the research and/or publication of the conclusions, including a joint presentation at an academic conference. Regretfully, she was unable to participated, because of her busy schedule.
Joint encounters that took place as part of the program included lectures that broadened our knowledge about all aspects and components of the American education system and all its aspects. Presentations included American education policy, how the education system and its institutions operate, characteristics of unique systems and more.
As well as lecturers, there were tours and visits to educational institutions and other bodies instrumental in or connected with the operation of the education system. These were intended for us to get a close look at how the system operated in practice. We visited a number of types of schools (charter schools, magnet schools, private schools) for different age groups (elementary, junior high). We also met home schooled children and their parents, and participated in a meeting of a municipal education committee.