Dr. Stolze and Dr. Barger will spend the spring 2020 semester in Indonesia and Thailand respectively.
In March, Associate Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management Hannah Stolze and Assistant Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Pam Barger were presented with Fulbright awards for the spring 2020 semester.
The Fulbright program offers scholars the opportunity to teach and do research abroad. The Record sat down with these professors to discuss the award and their hopes for the program.
What does this award entail for you in particular?
Stolze: I decided to do a teaching Fulbright. The work I’ll be doing in Indonesia will be at the Universitas Pelita Harapan. I’ll be working with people in the business community in Jakarta and teaching a class on “purpose beyond profit,” which is a State Department way of teaching Christian business practice. It’ll look at sustainable business development, servant leadership and stakeholder engagement, looking broadly at how to structure a business to have an impact beyond just a financial and economic one.
I’ll also be teaching a class on global supply chain strategy, which is helping students understand the impact of their engagement on the world marketplace. I’ll also be working locally with different organizations and groups in Jakarta.
Barger: I was awarded a research and teaching grant from Fulbright. I am working with Chiang Mai University, with the faculty in the school of education, and I am planning to research the impact of technology and access to female education.
I am going to be looking specifically at Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), but I will also be looking at other technology components, too. My hope is to work with the faculty at Chiang Mai University in their online program, seeing ways it could provide education access for females and for people who cannot afford education. I’ll hopefully also be teaching courses that I currently teach here, which are international education courses.
What are you most excited about? What do you think will be the most challenging?
Stolze: I am most excited about teaching best-practice, kingdom business strategies in an emerging economy. [Indonesia] hasn’t gained the market momentum we have in the West, where it’s really hard to get companies out of the short-term financial mindsets that they’re in to think long-term about the impact of their corporations.
Very few at the ver top do it well, but across the entire marketplace, I don’t think that corporate leaders are thinking long term. I am humbled. beyond amazed and excited about the opportunity to teach within an emerging economy to up-and-coming Christian business leaders [about] how they can steward the resources that God is giving them in a way that honors people and society differently.
It will be both a challenge and an exciting thing that my whole family is going. My kids will actually be at an international school in Jakarta, so it’ll be a challenge because we’re going to have full cultural immersion with a very different culture. [Indonesia] is the largest Muslim population in the world.
Barger: I’m very excited about teaching in Thailand again. I have [taught] a lot in an American context and it’s been a while since I’ve taught in a Thai context. I’m excited to go back and teach and work alongside Thai nationals helping them in addition to learning from them as well. I think that’s very exciting.
I’m also bringing my two children and husband. I want my children to understand their cultural background as well. That’s going to be both the most exciting and the hardest aspect in terms of transition for them. It’s the first time they are going to be transitioned away from living here in America to Thailand.
In addition, the last time I taught in Thailand, I was overwhelmed with so many responsibilities. I taught a lot, I did a lot. I hope this will be a time when I can figure things out without feeling overwhelmed.
How do you intend to make an impact abroad?
Stolze: When you think about how Jesus connected, it was individually in a relationship. So I think that sometimes we think we have to do really great and big things and we think we need a big platform to do it; but really I think it happens in building relationships with a few people who will take what we learn from each other and do something awesome for the kingdom with it.
So I don’t have to be the one who does something awesome. It’s really building relationships with other people, coming alongside them, inspiring, training and teaching them what I know that is useful. That’s really Jesus’ example, right? He told his disciples that he was going and they would do greater things in Him. That’s the hope.
Barger: As an individual, I think the best thing is to be a more competent learner, to really engage in a culture, to learn and ask questions. I really want to make an impact in terms of learning from them, to not be the one who knows it all, but ask how I can help to assist and work alongside them.
I think it starts with developing trust, with getting to know them, getting them to know me and getting involved in a community right away. I think if you get that mindset of being open and learning, you can definitely make a big impact. They have to engage with them.
What are you hoping the outcome of your semester will be?
Stolze: I’m hoping that this Fulbright also provides more opportunities for students to have opportunities to go to Indonesia in the future as well. So between ISI and SPE partnering with UPH and the business department having a relationship with UPH as well. I could just be another tool or another servant in making the connection for Wheaton students to have opportunities in that area of the world.
Barger: I’m encouraged to know that [although] Stolze and myself are working women who have kids and families, we’ve gotten this opportunity to be Fulbright scholars. [It’s] such a blessing. Hopefully it’ll be great for anyone, both men and women to know that there are opportunities out there for [people] like us, and that if they have any questions at all, we would be examples for them, and encourage them that if the Lord is opening opportunities for them to be in an academic career or working in addition to having families, that we are examples of that.
It shouldn’t close their options, but their options are limitless, especially if they align with what God is calling them to do.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.