William Wolff

William Wolff, a College of Education Department of Educational Foundations (EDEF) doctoral student, was awarded a year-long fellowship from the Japanese government. The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, under the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, will fund Wolff’s doctoral studies in Global and International Education.

Wolff’s research area lies at the intersection of cultural and linguistic capital, culturally sustaining education, and the concept of cultural ambassadorship as a means of soft diplomacy. He is currently researching multicultural education curriculum and cultural ambassadorship in relation to the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

After working with his EDEF advisor, Dr. Brent Edwards, Wolff was able to secure a renowned figure in the field of international education as his host researcher. He will be working with Dr. Yuto Kitamura, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Education, during his time in Japan. He will be gathering qualitative data from teachers –  both local and foreign, administrators, and policymakers as well as analyzing official government documents.

“This award will allow me to better understand the multicultural education curriculum and ‘cultural ambassadorship’ aspect of a long-running and popular government educational initiative,” Wolff said. “Performing field research at Japanese schools will enable me to gather an in-depth description of the context and provide a deeper understanding of the cultural and social phenomena involved in the relationships and impacts between the various stakeholders of multicultural education at these schools.”

Given the vast multicultural diversity of Hawaiʻi and its school system, Wolff says he chose UH Mānoa because of the access to resources that he could only get here. His long-term academic goal is to become an expert in multicultural education in regards to both public policy and curriculum design/instruction at the institutional level.

“I hope to instruct others on how best to approach multiculturalism in the classroom,” Wolff said. “I have fallen in love with the Pacific and wish to give back and advocate for the region and its people, specifically the underprivileged, as they have had a profoundly positive impact on my worldview.”

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