Feruza Masharipova, an alumna of the Teaching Excellence Award (TEA) and the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) from Uzbekistan, is the November State Alumni Member of the Month. This honor recognizes Feruza for sharing the knowledge, skills, and experience she has gained from her exchange programs with teachers and students in Uzbekistan.
After participating in the TEA program in 2003, Feruza decided to give back to her local community of Urgench, in Uzbekistan’s northwestern Khorezm region, by teaching English at Urgench State University. Feruza was quickly recognized by her colleagues as a professional and progressive teacher, and appointed head of the gifted students department in 2005.
In 2008, Feruza participated in the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP), spending a semester at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, to learn more about higher education administration in the United States. She took classes, gave lectures, collaborated with American scholars, and participated in conferences. She also visited public schools, where she met with American students, teachers, and administrators, and talked with them about her home country. When she returned to Uzbekistan, she was promoted to a senior English language teacher position at Urgench State University where she has led workshops and teacher training seminars and shares her creative and engaging instructional techniques with colleagues.
As is the case in many countries, Uzbekistan has a thriving and active alumni community in its capital city of Tashkent. What is less common is the thriving and active alumni community that also exists in Uzbekistan’s remote Khorezm region. Feruza’s drive and dedication has contributed to the development of this community. She regularly invites alumni to give presentations at her teacher trainings and share their experiences in the United States with her students. By bringing alumni together, Feruza has created a sense of belonging among regional alumni while extending the benefits of alumni expertise to the people in one of Uzbekistan’s most remote regions.
Feruza credits her participation in the TEA and JFDP exchange programs with preparing her to lead the way in today’s complex global educational landscape. “Without hesitation I can say that both programs equipped me with valuable knowledge and experience,” she states. “In today’s global environment, institutions of higher education and other educational organizations around the world seek leaders who are capable of meeting the challenges of change. Now I feel a strong commitment to be that great difference maker in my area.”