Baylor Educators Implement State Department Grant in Pakistan

May 30, 2024
Group of Baylor educators and students and educators in Pakistan

Funded by a U.S. State Department federal grant award, a team of Baylor educators traveled to Lahore, Pakistan, in December to empower Pakistani women through leadership workshops and sport engagement.

Dr. Bill Sterrett, professor and chair of Baylor School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, is principal investigator (PI) for the grant, titled “Innovating and Designing Engaging Applications in Sports Promoting Outreach, Responsibility, and Teamwork (IDEA-SPORT): Promoting Leadership for Women Through Sports.”

The four-day workshop in Lahore brought together educators from 10 secondary schools and four universities in the region. The initiative is a partnership between Baylor, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and four universities in Pakistan.

Dr. Bill Sterrett and Dr. Mar Magnusen
Dr. Bill Sterrett and Dr. Mar Magnusen

Sterrett led the travel group, including Baylor PhD student Hina Abel, Baylor graduates Charles and Brooke Ramsey, Baylor MA in School Leadership student Meredith Frey, and EdD student Sohail Sukhera from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of sport management serves as co-PI of the grant and helped lead the design of the curricular format. Magnusen interviewed several former Baylor athletes to create educational content for the seminars.

Sterrett described the grant, which called for leadership training for women through sports, a “perfect fit for Baylor.” The State Department also wanted a program that promoted “interfaith and intra-faith harmony.”

Abel, who is in Baylor SOE’s Higher Education and Leadership Studies PhD program, provided a vital perspective to the team as someone who was raised in Pakistan and has deep knowledge of the culture.

“We saw the impact of playing games together throughout the workshops,” Abel said. “We witnessed cultural boundaries being demolished. Even if this happens briefly, mixed-gender practices impact the psyche by allowing humans to respect and learn from each other, grow together, laugh, and have fun.”

Hina Abel teaching in Pakistan
Hina Abel teaching in Pakistan

The workshops in Pakistan were structured to foster insights on leadership concepts, sports teaching strategies, and time to play new sports together. Morning workshop sessions taught by Baylor colleagues focused on leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. This was followed each day by a session on learning a specific sport. Then, a panel of local experts, such as players or coaches of a university or the national team, shared insights on the sport. Finally, there was time for playing the sport.

The grant team spent a year designing the program with the U.S. Consulate and partners at the University of Education Lahore. They met frequently via Zoom, crafting a curriculum focused on leadership skills and incorporating cricket, badminton, table tennis, football (soccer), and volleyball.

Participant feedback from Lahore was positive, and Sterrett said the project goal is to eventually impact over 1,000 students in the Punjab region. The grant award also provided sports equipment for the schools in Pakistan. This partnership between universities and schools continues to host monthly virtual calls to keep the professional learning community engaged.

Partner universities in Pakistan

• University of Education Lahore
• Foreman Christian University
• Kinnaird College
• Government College Women's University - Faisalabad