Professor Sophie Sparrow To Teach In India As Fulbright Scholar
Professor Sophie Sparrow, who will head to India next year to teach law as a Fulbright Scholar, is the latest in a long line of UNH Law professors who have been awarded Fulbright Scholar grants.
Sparrow has focused her career on teaching and learning. A co-author of Teaching Law by Design: Engaging Students from Syllabus to Final Exam (2009) and Techniques for Teaching Law (2011) she built the school’s legal writing curriculum and has conducted more than 70 workshops and presentations on teaching, professionalism, writing and assessment to professors, judges and lawyers.
In January, she will head to the National Law University in Jodphur, in the state of Rajasthan. She will be at the university through June, teaching torts, consumer protection, pharmaceutical liability, legal language and legal writing.
For Sparrow, this opportunity is the realization of a lifelong dream.
“I’ve wanted to do a Fulbright ever since I knew they existed,” she says, citing a year spent in Austria as a child while her father, a college professor, was on sabbatical. “It really expanded my horizons: I valued not just visiting foreign places, but actually living in them.”
Sparrow particularly wanted to go to India, a country she’s never been to but long been fascinated by. She is energized by the differences between American and Indian legal studies, including the fact that much legal education happens at an undergraduate level, so her students will be younger. Another difference she cites is the classroom style: Most classes there are lecture-based, she says, and students play more of a passive role.
Sparrow also hopes to extend her focus on innovative teaching methods to the Indian faculty and students she will be working with. “I would like to continue to be a part of developing methods of delivering legal education effectively, given cultural constraints and resources,” she says.
She hopes to take away much from the experience, she says, including “finding ways to improve our teaching and thinking about ways that we can partner up with other institutions.”
And she believes the benefits will be more personal, as well. “An experience like this reminds you what it’s like to be new at something,” she says. “For our students, starting a legal education is like learning a foreign language. It will be a good reminder for me about what it’s like to be a beginner.”
Previous Fulbrighters on the UNH Law faculty include Appellate Defender and Professor of Law Christopher Johnson, who taught and studied in Turku, Finland; Associate Dean and Professor Jordan Budd, who traveled to Riga, Latvia; Professor Joseph Dickinson, who traveled to Sophia, Bulgaria, in 1998; Professor William Hennessey, who traveled to Beijing, China; and Professor William Murphy, who taught in Ireland.