Dr. Lynne Masel Walters, associate professor within the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture, was recently invited by the rector (president) of Ahmad Dahlan University (UAD) in Yogyakara, Indonesia to serve as the keynote speaker for the December 2014 graduation, and as the first foreigner to ever be presented with the opportunity to speak at UAD. The ceremony was held at the city auditorium with more than 3,000 people, 800 graduates and their families, in attendance.
At Texas A&M University, Dr. Walters teaches action research Cultural Foundations of Education and has a specific expertise in digital storytelling. She uses digital storytelling to enable pre-service and in-service educators to reflect upon themselves as cultural beings and examine practices in diverse classrooms so that they may function more successfully in a multicultural school environment.
Dr. Walters is also interested in international studies and global education. She joined the College of Education after serving as director of the International Studies Degree Program in Liberal Arts. Dr. Walters had a Fullbright Fellowship to Budapest, Hungary; directed study abroad programs in Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende; taught four terms on Semester at Sea, and was a visiting professor at the University of Northern Malaysia. In 2010, she took 13 Texas World History/World Geography teachers to China for five weeks on a Fullbright-Hays Groups Projects Abroad Grant. With a background in instructing abroad and a love for international studies, Dr. Walters was the ideal candidate for the honor of speaking at UAD.
UAD, a private Muslim university located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, offers expertise courses in the field of technological sciences and humanities, and is well known for its Master’s in Education program. UAD evolved from a Teacher’s Training Institute into what is a now a full-functioning university that serves 15,000 students from all across Indonesia.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is home to over 700 languages – a difficult barrier in creating a consistent infrastructure throughout the country. Because of this, Dr. Walters expresses the importance and value of an open and affirming university, such as UAD, that also values the practice of surrounding its students with international intelligence. “Making students aware of the world outside of the small space they call their own is vital,” she said. “The current generation, with ever-changing technology and a growth in international commerce, has the need for both foundational and global education, and that need has never been greater.”
Dr. Walters believes that being an Aggie has opened many doors for her and was an important factor in her selection as graduation speaker at UAD. Additionally, it has made the world just a little bit smaller. “I find Aggies everywhere I go,” she said. She believes that the Aggie Spirit and education have one of the most important things in common – they both connect individuals and bring them together.
“Education is the only way out of a bad situation – the most important thing in this world is education,” she said. “Education and knowledge are the only things that nobody can take away from you, and I am honored, as a representative of Texas A&M, to have shared my knowledge in this area with the students at UAD.”
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