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A PhD student of Malang State University and a visiting scholar at the Ohio State University
Arif (the second from the right) with other visiting scholars from China, France and Italy
Tell me a little bit about your background.
I am a faculty at the college of Islamic studies (Tarbiyah) of Sunan Giri University, a private Islamic university in Surabaya. Currently I am doing my PhD in educational management at Malang State University. I have got a scholarship from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to pursue my PhD.
What program are you participating?
I am one of the participants of overseas doctoral sandwich program sponsored by the directorate of Islamic higher education under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). This program aims to develop the institutional capacity of faculties of Islamic higher education, both from state and private institutions. I belong to the first cohort of 11 lecturers sent to different countries and I am the only faculty from a private Islamic university.
What is your research interest?
I am interested in doing research on educational leadership, especially in the context of Islamic based schools (madrasah). My focus of research is on female leadership as agents of change in madrasah. In my initial survey, I found that the number of female principals is very low compared to the fact that female teachers are very dominant in the madrasah. I have been wondering the effectiveness of their leadership despite their limited number.
Why do you want to study in a secular country like the U.S.?
I was eager to go to the United States to broaden my knowledge. It cannot be denied that USA has got a lot of world class universities with excellent resources, including their top professors and researchers. I believe that Islam has never rejected learning in secular countries. Islam teaches us to be broaden minded in learning from many resources. That is why many of my undergraduate professors in Sunan Ampel Islamic State University were graduated from Western universities. I even believe this is also an opportunity to promote more research related to educational issues in Islamic institutions to the U.S. academia.
Why are you interested to go to the Ohio State University?
I applied to be a visiting scholar at Ohio State University due to its reputation as a world class university. I am really grateful that I can go to this university. When I was doing my undergraduate study, I was really fascinated to find a digital journal of “Theory and Practice” published by the college of Education of the Ohio State University. Since then, I was hoping that someday, I could go to the home of the journal. Alhamdullilah (Praise the Lord), eventually my dream comes true.
What is the role of USINTEC in your program?
I have been grateful that USINTEC has given me a lot of assistance from my initial contact to OSU. As I have never been to a Western country before, USINTEC oriented me with the issues related with my program in the U.S., both academic and non academic issues such as my accommodation and the paper works when I was in Indonesia and here in the U.S. The most important contribution is USINTEC’s assistance in connecting me with an OSU faculty who is enthusiastic in working with me in my dissertation. Working with a distinguished scholar like Dr. Ann Allen has been a precious opportunity to me in developing my dissertation project as well as my plan of journal article publication
What are you expecting in the future visiting scholar program participants?
Because of my late arrival, I feel sorry for missing the sessions that USINTEC has prepared for the sandwich program participants from the ministry of Education and Culture. If only we had the same schedule, I would have had the various sessions of American educational system and social system that in my opinion would be really beneficial for a visiting scholar like me. However, I have seen a lot of opportunities that we can develop the future especially related to the sandwich program from MoRA. In addition to educational and cultural activities, I have been wondering whether the next participants could also interact more with Islamic based schools and have inter faith dialogue with some other religious groups in the U.S.
Arif can be contacted at: email@example.com