Tulane played host to a university delegation from Pakistan in March to show how civic engagement has become an integral part of the curriculum and the university experience. This summer, three Tulane representatives headed to Rawalpindi, Pakistan, to visit the partner institution, Fatima Jinnah Women University.
Beth Wee, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the School of Science and Engineering, right, and Agnieszka Nance, associate director of the Tulane Center for Public Service, talk to a group at Fatima Jinnah Women University about civic engagement. (Photo by Carrie Bodley-Bond)
During their 10-day visit, the New Orleans team met with representatives from Fatimah Jinnah as well as students and community partners, offering insights about civic engagement in higher education. Traveling to Pakistan were Agnieszka Nance, associate director of the Tulane Center for Public Service
; Sally Kenney, executive director of the Newcomb College Institute; and Beth Wee, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the School of Science and Engineering.
While there to teach, Wee says it ended up being quite a learning experience.
“We weren’t just going there and telling them what to do, we were really brainstorming with them,” says Wee. “Some of the ideas they had and some of the ways they addressed the issues they face were done in a really positive way that I’ll be able to share with my students.”
The fact that Fatimah Jinnah is a women’s university presents a specific set of hurdles to overcome when it comes to civic engagement. In spite of the cultural issues surrounding women heading out into the community, both Nance and Wee said they were impressed with how engaged and enthusiastic the students were about public service.
“Seeing the model of female leadership was extraordinary,” says Nance. “That kind of strong leadership is really impressive.”
Wee came back with a message for her classes. “Next time I’m dealing with students who are doing public service, I’ll tell them to find that commonality with their service partners,” says Wee. “I think that’s the biggest thing I took back with me from the trip.”