Published April 13, 2021
GSE faculty member Jaekyung Lee won a 2020-21 Fulbright Global Scholar Award, one of the most competitive research awards from the prestigious, world renown Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.
For his Fulbright work, Lee, professor of educational leadership and policy in the Graduate School of Education, will travel to South Korea, Vietnam and Kazakhstan to investigate educational equity and engage in collaborations and trainings with international universities and think tanks.
Lee was honored March 22 at the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program Workshop for Faculty, hosted by UB’s Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Office of the Vice Provost for International Education.
“This is a well-deserved honor and recognition of Dr. Lee’s excellent scholarship,” says Suzanne Rosenblith, professor and dean of the Graduate School of Education.
The Fulbright program, coordinated by the U.S. Department of State, is devoted to improving intercultural relations, diplomacy and competence between the people of the U.S. and other nations through educational exchange.
Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents. They include 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners and 74 MacArthur Fellows, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers.
Lee, an internationally recognized leader in education policy and equity, and international and comparative education, will examine how well public schools in Asia provide safe, supportive learning environments for vulnerable students to overcome adversity and succeed.
Amid rapid economic growth and widening social inequalities, developing nations in Asia are faced with the challenge of providing equitable education for all students, particularly high-risk populations such as female, rural, low-income, immigrant and refugee children.
Lee will explore transformative educational policies that close academic achievement and socioemotional well-being gaps for vulnerable students by analyzing international datasets, conducting in-depth case studies, interviewing education policymakers and practitioners, and visiting schools with innovative and inclusive child development programs.
“What lessons can developing nations in Asia, such as Vietnam and Kazakhstan, learn from South Korea? While Korea was a war-torn society, held back by very low literacy levels in the early 1950s, today its young people achieve the highest level of education,” Lee said. “However, schools in Korea struggle to cope with widening educational inequalities and socioemotional well-being problems.
“By pursuing more effective and equitable policy interventions, I hope my Fulbright study can help improve educational opportunities and outcomes for disadvantaged children and youth across the region,” he said.
“My ultimate goal is to inform global education policy initiatives, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Education, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.”