SU math professor awarded Fulbright grant
A Shippensburg University
professor recently received a Fulbright grant to teach in India next year.
Dr. Luis Melara, associate
professor of mathematics, will use his Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to
teach at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bhubaneswar during the spring
Melara’s focus will be
comparing the teaching of math in the United States and India, with the goal of
improving undergraduate teaching practices for SU students.
“If you look at mathematics graduate programs at universities in the United
States, a lot of students are from India and countries in Southeast Asia. Of
those, India is the largest democracy,” Melara said. “Indian students are
highly motivated and demonstrate strong mathematical backgrounds. I hope
to better understand those aspects of the Indian educational system that have resulted
in the success of its students.”
mathematician, Melara teaches such courses as calculus, differential equations
and numerical analysis along with the Department of Mathematics’ general
education courses. He conducts oral reviews with his students to prepare for
exams, and will use them in his teaching in India as well.
“We’ve found that
student performance has improved with the oral review sessions,” he said. “I
will use the oral reviews I’ve implemented in the calculus sequence at
Shippensburg as a bridge between the two educational systems. I want to see how
the Indian students receive the practice and how it helps them prepare for
exams. I will look for feedback from them to see if there are ways we could
improve the practice for our students.”
Melara is excited for
the opportunity. “I’m extremely honored and very happy to have gotten the
award,” he said. “I want to be able to learn from the Indian students as well
as teach them.”
The Fulbright Program
is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program. Administered
by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it is
designed to increase mutual understanding between American citizens and those
of other countries.
Fourteen SU faculty members have
received Fulbright awards since 1998, including five in the last five years.