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Westminster College Hosts Visiting Scholar-in-Residence from Israel

Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College welcomes Dr. Randa Abbas as a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence for the 2013 Fall Semester.

She will present her research, "We Cannot Move Forward Unless We Preserve Our Traditions: Women Principals as Leaders in Traditional Israeli Druze Society," at the Celebrate International Diversity Symposium at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in Witherspoon Rooms 334 and 335 at the McKelvey Campus Center (MCC). This is open and free to the public.

Abbas is currently a lecturer in the education department at Western Galilee College in Akko, Israel, and head of the education department at the Arab Academic College in Haifa, Israel. At Westminster Abbas will be teaching "Education and Psychology" with Tina Keller, lecturer of education; and "Psychology of Women" with Dr. Sherri Pataki, associate professor of psychology.

Westminster and Western Galilee faculty have been collaborating on research for five years and each institution has taken turns hosting the Bridges International Faculty Workshop, providing opportunities for both of the institutions' faculty members to engage in formal and informal discussions to enrich teaching and research.

"Dr. Randa Abbas and I met five years ago when I attended the first faculty workshop at Western Galilee College in Israel," Pataki said. "Since then, we have collaborated on several research projects involving Capstone students at Westminster as well as a long-distance dialogue between our students."

As part of their cross-cultural research on gender roles and women living in traditional societies, four Westminster psychology majors had the opportunity to travel to Israel and work with Dr. Abbas and her Israeli students, Pataki said. 

Pataki continued, "This semester, many more Westminster students and our community will benefit directly from Westminster's partnership with Western Galilee College through Dr. Abbas' activities and presence on our campus." 

Abbas will work on several current research projects while on campus. The first is focused on the relationship between parents and adolescents in traditional Israeli communities. The second is focused on the status of Druze women in Israel, and the third research project will investigate how public school children share information about their religion.

Abbas will also present at the Faires Faculty Forum at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Oct 2, in Mueller Theatre, located in the MCC. The event is free to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring a bagged lunch to enjoy during the presentation. They also have the option to purchase lunch from the TUB, located on the bottom floor of MCC.

Abbas earned her undergraduate degree from Western Galilee College. She earned her master's and Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University, and was the first Druze woman to receive a Ph.D. degree from the university.

She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and has been published in Studies in Educational Administration and Evaluation, The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, and Daruna - The Academic Arab College of Education.

Her visit to Westminster is underwritten by the Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, Westminster's Department of Education and the Department of Psychology, and the Office of Academic Affairs.

For more information contact Pataki at 724-946-7361 or email, or contact Dr. Amy Camardese, associate professor of education and chair of the department, at 724-946-7183 or email.

Dr. Randa Abbas, visiting scholar-in-residence