The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has selected Christopher Pastore, Ph.D., professor of transdisciplinary studies, for a Fulbright Specialist Grant. Pastore will leave Aug. 21 for the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in Durban, South Africa, to help rebuild the school’s clothing and textile studies department.
DUT’s 35-year-old program has suffered lately, Pastore said. Besides a decrease in staffing and funding, the University has battled to attract quality students to an area industry receiving poor publicity due to low-cost imports and other challenges. However, anticipating an industry resurgence and gearing up to meet future demands, DUT sought consultation and advice to strengthen the department.
“Bringing our University’s storied history to them should be a fascinating interchange,” said Pastore, who holds a Ph.D. in materials science. “It will be exciting to discover the specific needs of the textile industry in South Africa and learn more about the higher education system there.”
For this Fulbright program, an international institution such as DUT contacts Fulbright to request an expert for help on a project. In turn, Fulbright looks for a U.S. professional to provide assistance to the university, which brought the organization to Pastore. After positive initial conversations with DUT representatives, Pastore and the university agreed it would be a mutually beneficial relationship and Fulbright issued the grant.
Pastore will spend almost six weeks in the country, examining the strengths, opportunities and challenges of DUT’s program, delivering lectures and advising on the curriculum. In addition, Pastore will look to build industry connections and establish relationships with faculty there.
“I hope this will lead to future collaborations with DUT,” said Pastore, who will be making his first trip to Africa. “On a personal front, the opportunity to experience the culture of Durban will undoubtedly be rewarding and broadening.”