This year's ambitious Faculty Collaboration Grant projects highlight our focus on collaborative, interdisciplinary research with local and global impact. We have awarded over $41,000 to support the work of 11 researchers from 11 different departments and seven different colleges. The three projects receiving funding tackle complex issues related to language preservation and pedagogy, cultural and linguistic translation and refugee narratives.
Dismantling Fear: Voices from Tucson’s Refugee Community
Orhon Myadar, Assistant Professor of Geography and Development (SBS), and Lisa Hochtritt, Assistant Professor of Art (CFA), are working to collect oral histories of Tucson’s refugee communities in order to provide a platform for their voices and raise awareness of their plights. The refugees’ stories will be illustrated through artmaking workshops, which will create a space where community members can share their stories. Their stories will be made publicly available. This project will also examine how refugee narratives vary by region, along with spatially illustrating their stories by mapping geographic points of reference. The research serves as important outreach to marginalized communities along with bringing academic attention to refugee issues. The team also includes Stephanie Troutman from the Department of English (SBS) and Joseph Farbrook from the School of Art.
“The inspiration for the project began with a student of mine,” said Myadar, “who came to Tucson as a refugee after fleeing the Somali civil war. His extraordinary story of trauma, pain and perseverance inspired me to uncover and share stories of other refugees in Tucson.”
Language Mediation and Translation for Global Research: A Resource Center
Sonia Colina, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese (COH), and Anna O’Leary, Associate Professor and Head of Mexican American Studies (SBS), seek to improve how cross-cultural research projects use multilingual research instruments and materials. By assessing the need for culturally and linguistically adequate instruments in global research and the most recent information about developments in translation studies and related fields, this project builds institutional capacity to assist researchers with project-specific, cross-cultural and linguistic needs. They are working with collaborators Nicole Marrone, an Assistant Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (COS), and Maia Ingram, Deputy Director of the Arizona Prevention Research Center in the College of Public Health's Department of Community, Environment and Policy.
“The team aims to develop a model that can be funded by external sources and replicated at other universities that will also serve to usher in an innovative-forward looking role for the humanities in the research-intensive university,” Colina said.
Arabic Language Planning in Egypt: An Interdisciplinary Approach
In order to address growing “English-ization” and globalization in Egypt,Mahmoud Azaz, Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Linguistics (SBS), and Olga Bever, Director of the Environmental Media Research Initiative (COE), with Mary Carol Combs, Associate Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies (COE), will investigate language acquisition planning models that promote Arabic learning in Egypt. Through analyzing how Arabic language perception in Egypt has changed, this project aims to propose best practices for Arabic language teacher training and curriculum development.
"To better understand this complex reality and contribute to changing it, this collaborative project offers an adequate language-planning model that reinstates standard Arabic in Egypt," Azaz said. "In achieving this aim, we will enhance existing interdisciplinary research that bridges language policy, educational planning and language pedagogy."