A BYU-Idaho professor, Dr. Devan Barker, has received the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award.
Barker teaches history and philosophy at BYU-I and is one of about 800 U.S. citizens chosen for the program.
The Fulbright Scholar Program Award is a U.S. government exchange program. Every year, the U.S. funds about 800 scholars to work in other countries, conducting research or teaching. The goal is for people who share an academic culture to build ties and learn from each other.
Starting in August, Barker will spend five and a half months in India at Ashoka University.
“I think most of us that choose academia as a career do it because we fall in love with some aspect of the world,” Barker said. “In my case, I just kind of fell in love with history, philosophy, language, cultures (and) people. There’s probably no better place to study all of that than India. There’s 1.4 billion people living there. There’s representation of every philosophical religious tradition (and) a rich history that goes back five thousand years and includes all of the major cultures of the world.”
Barker hopes to use the lessons he glean from his time in India to inspire BYU-I students.
“The difficulty of education has always been to bring it alive,” Barker said. “For me, that’s what it’s about. It’s a chance to go and spend a robust amount of time living this stuff and building the personal experience to bring it back to Rexburg and make it come alive for students.”
Barker spent10 years working with BYU-I’s Instructional Development Department. He helped design the learning model to encourage learning for learning’s sake. Now Barker plans to take that same spirit to India. He says higher education in India focuses more on certification rather than expanding knowledge. He will work with Ashoka University’s administration to set up programs similar to those at BYU-I.
“I spent time in India a while ago, so it doesn’t feel quite as foreign to me,” Barker said. “I haven’t spent six months there before, but I’m excited to death.”
Barker will also teach some courses at theuniversity. He will return to Rexburg in December.
For more information on Barker and his journey, listen to his recent BYU-Idaho Radio interview.