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Baylor Educators Implement State Department Grant in Pakistan focused on Sports Leadership [02/07/2024]



Baylor group in Pakistan

Baylor faculty and students led sports workshops promoting women’s leadership in Pakistan through a U.S. State Department grant.

A team of Baylor educators traveled to Lahore, Pakistan, to empower Pakistani women through leadership workshops and sport engagement, funded by a U.S. State Department grant.

Hina Abel

Hina Abel teaching in a workshop.

Dr. Bill Sterrett, chair of Baylor School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and professor, is Principal Investigator of the grant, titled “Innovating and Designing Engaging Applications in Sports Promoting Outreach, Responsibility, and Teamwork (IDEA-SPORT): Promoting Leadership for Women Through Sports.” Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of sport management in the Department of Educational Leadership, serves as Co-PI of the grant

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 University of Education Lahore.

Dr. Bill Sterrett (left) and Dr. Mar Magnusen holding table tennis equipment

Dr. Bill Sterrett (left) and Dr. Mar Magnusen

Sterrett led the group to Lahore in mid-December with Baylor PhD student Hina Abel, Baylor graduates Charles and Brooke Ramsey, and EdD student Sohail Sukhera from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The group was warmly received by the U.S. Consulate prior to beginning the workshop held at the University of Education Lahore.

Dr. Magnusen helped design the curricular format in the year-long effort. Magnusen also interviewed several former Baylor athletes to create educational content for the seminars.

Sterrett described the grant as a “perfect fit for Baylor; it relates to all four pillars in a unique way.” He noted that the grant called for programs to “promote leadership for women through sports” and to equip them with “life skills such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, teamwork, and leadership.” The State Department also wanted a program that would promote “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, Sterrett said.

“Playing together undeniably lowers walls!” Abel said. “We saw the impact of playing together throughout the workshops. 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.”

Women talking

The morning workshops were structured with activities promoting leadership.

The workshops in Pakistan were structured to foster insights on leadership concepts, sports teaching strategies, and time to play new sports together. In the mornings, 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 taught by a member of one of the participating institutions. 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.

Sterrett noted a Baylor “Dream Team” spent a year designing the program before implementing the on-the-ground December workshop with the U.S. Consulate and partners at the University of Education Lahore. They met on frequent Zoom calls, crafting a curriculum focused on leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and conflict resolution while incorporating cricket, badminton, table tennis, football (soccer), and volleyball.

The team included Baylor MA in School Leadership student Meredith Frey, who helped integrate mini-lessons on movement breaks throughout the conference. Frey, a teacher in the San Antonio area, said this work provided her an opportunity to “learn how to develop curriculum that meets the academic and social needs of students while also creating meaningful relationships with global school leaders.”

The work of the team doesn’t stop with the implementation of the workshops in Lahore, Sterrett said. It has only begun.

Sterrett says the partnership of universities and schools involved will continue to host monthly virtual calls to keep the professional learning community engaged. The grant funds also paid for sports equipment for the schools in Pakistan.

“The principals and teacher leaders who attended the workshops were able to share feedback on how encouraging it was to come together to focus on both leadership and sports strategies that will impact their schools,” Sterrett said. “The IDEA-SPORT project goal is to eventually impact over 1,000 students in the Punjab region.”

Partner universities in Pakistan:

  • University of Education Lahore
  • Forman Christian College (A Chartered University)
  • Kinnaird College for Women
  • Government College Women’s University in Faisalabad

Read more about Educational Leadership faculty global engagements on the Baylor Center for School Leadership website.

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