UT-Austin faculty work with international institutions through Texas Global grants


Rebecca Saborio

Seven UT professors received grants as part of the Texas Global Virtual Exchange Initiative, which encourages faculty to collaborate with international institutions and allows students to virtually engage with peers abroad.

The full list of recipients of the grant can be found on Texas Global’s website. Recipients are awarded grants on one of two tracks with different funding opportunities, according to the website. Track A allows professors to pursue a single institution partnership with a $2,500 grant, while Track B encourages partnerships with multiple institutions and offers $4,000 grants. 

Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost for global engagement and chief international officer, said the application for the grants will remain open until May 3. 

“The aim is to facilitate academic and cultural exchange between students in the two or more countries involved,” said Ellenor Shoemaker, adjunct associate French professor. 

This semester, Shoemaker said UT students studying French are being paired with English learners at the New Sorbonne University, and the students meet eight times throughout the semester for conversations in French and English.

Marc Bizer, a French culture and literature professor, said his grant allows his course to collaborate with the University of Versailles and learn from their archival work. 

“(The pandemic) has made us realize the extent to which Zoom can actually help bring us together, especially when we’re talking about people on the other side of an ocean,” Bizer said. “It’s nice to get Francophones from the other side of the Atlantic into the classroom.”

David Eaton, a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs, said his grant will allow his students to connect with universities in Japan, India and Nepal to help small family farms affected by weather variability. He said the class will visit Japan in August.

“My class is going to be, I’m sure, the only class that will be evaluated by two different … virtual education (institutes),” Eaton said.

James Patton, an associate professor of instruction in the Department of Special Education, said he pursued the Texas Global grant to connect with National Taiwan Normal University and discuss universal learning designs.

“There are some amazingly bright students at this university in Taipei, and I think it really would be rich for our students to get to know them and get their perspectives,” Patton said. “There’s a little bit of me that wants to make sure that our students in the United States do not have this attitude that we are the center of the universe.”