Pope appointed to Ardis Butler James Endowed Chair for 2020-21 academic year
Doane faculty have a long history of exceptional, original research and scholarship. The Ardis Butler James Endowed Chair for Advancement of the Liberal and Fine Arts is the long name given to one of the University’s highest honors for original faculty research. Professor of Modern Languages Dr. Joshua Pope is the 2020-21 recipient of the Ardis Butler James Endowed Chair for Advancement of the Liberal and Fine Arts.
“I do feel honored,” Dr. Pope says. “It’s a good way of honoring original scholarship. I’m looking forward to keep developing my research and applying it to teaching at the university.”
Every year, one member of Doane’s liberal and fine arts faculty is selected by an advisory board of faculty and the Provost to the Ardis Butler James chairmanship. The recipient is provided funds to support an annual salary enhancement, course release, faculty development, and other direct expenses related to the initiative.
Dr. Pope’s research focuses on the relatively little-explored field of study-abroad outcomes. He’s interested in case studies of students who engage in study abroad activities, and how their experiences abroad change them in terms of language proficiency, cultural sensitivity, and other factors.
“Little research has been done on extremely short-term SA experiences, those that last roughly ten to fourteen days.” Dr. Pope wrote in his proposal for the chairmanship. “In 2019 I carried out a pilot study while I was accompanying the Doane University short-term travel course to Spain and Portugal. I approached this pilot study in an exploratory manner with broad research questions of determining what learners notice about their host countries during a travel course, what they found most important and what they learned.”
Dr. Pope says that a good amount of foundational, quantitative research has already been conducted into study abroad experiences and outcomes, but not much attention has been paid to the complex personal interactions undergone by students studying abroad. He says the field could benefit from a qualitative research approach involving in-depth case studies.
“Collecting such case studies takes a lot of time and effort but they allow for an extremely deep understanding of the individual differences between learners’ experiences during study abroad,” Dr. Pope says. “There’s a lot left still untold. Getting into more case studies, that’s really where I want to go.”
According to Dr. Pope, part of his hypothesis is that it’s the quality of relationships that has the biggest impact on a student’s benefits from studying abroad.
“The main factors determining a student’s experience is their friends. Do they hang out with Americans abroad or local people? Are they just an acquaintance or are they developing a relationship?” Dr. Pope says. “These experiences are highly individualized and complex. Motivations matter. Are they going to a place to learn a language or a culture or what? Some people want to go to Europe because they want to go to every country that’s around, too. They want to travel. Who a student is, the identity they feel, the heritage they have with their family, that can play a role in how someone’s study abroad experience can play out.”
Dr. Pope hopes to build on this body of knowledge with the extra resources provided him by the Ardis Butler James chairmanship.
“This project as a whole is ideal for Ardis Butler James because it involves a deep, whole and timeless analysis of the human condition,” Dr. Pope says. “Learners who study abroad are immersed in new cultural practices, new ways of expression which will affect them in individualized ways. Learners themselves return with changed perspectives on what it means to be human and a global citizen, both major goals of a liberal arts education.”
The goal of the Ardis Butler James Endowed Chair for Advancement of the Liberal and Fine Arts is to benefit all of Doane University by promoting exceptional research being done by its own faculty. The chairmanship is open to any full-time Doane faculty members who have completed at least three years of full-time teaching in any discipline. Dr. Pope received much support from his fellow faculty members for his nomination.
History Professor Dr. Kim Jarvis said of Dr. Pope’s proposal: “His work will draw on and expand current scholarship relating to study abroad and his engagement with these issues will benefit our students as well, particularly how students’ identities are affected by study abroad, whether in short term or long term experiences.”
Fellow Modern Languages Professor Dr. Jared List said of Dr. Pope: “His proposed project is mutually beneficial for our students and institution, as well as to himself as a scholar. When he shares the results of the research with Doane faculty and staff, we will be able to use his findings to help tailor our travel course outcomes, assessments and assignments to help students achieve the learning outcomes.”
Doane’s administration also supports Dr. Pope’s research efforts as Ardis Butler James chairperson.
“This effort will draw on and expand current scholarship relating to study abroad that will benefit Doane students, particularly how students’ identities are affected by study abroad, whether in short term or long term experiences,” wrote Doane President Jacque Carter in a letter to Dr. Pope.
Dr. Pope says he feels honored to be selected to the Ardis Butler James chairmanship. He says it gives him more motivation not just in his research, but in everything he can bring to the benefit of Doane students.
“It does feel good because it shows me that there’s a value for this type of research in humanities and liberal arts and study abroad,” he says. “And value not just in the research but in teaching as well. It does make me feel good, too. I feel valued as a researcher.”