The University is celebrating a banner year for Fulbright awards. Not only have three faculty been named Fulbright Scholars, but three students as well—a first for BGSU.
David Wegehaupt of Glendale, Ariz., who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music May 5, will be studying saxophone at the National Conservatory in Paris. Meaghan Geraghty of Austinburg, Ohio, who graduated with a major in English and a minor in political science, will be going to Hong Kong to teach English. And Paul Lajeunesse, a 2006 graduate of the School of Art now living in St. Louis, will study landscape painting in Iceland. (See next week’s Monitor for a related story.)
The three faculty members will soon be traveling to Eastern Europe as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Two, Drs. David Jackson, political science, and John Fischer, School of Teaching and Learning, are going to Poland, and the third, Dr. Marc Simon, also political science, will be heading to Austria.
Jackson, the first to depart, will leave in August. His Fulbright is a lecturing award for the University of Lodz, where he will teach U.S. Government, Media and Politics, and Canadian Government. In addition to teaching, he plans to research public opinion and political socialization. Jackson will study the relationship between entertainment media use and political beliefs among young people, and hopes to conduct several surveys while in Poland.
“I wanted the opportunity to teach in a completely new environment and to spend some time getting to know a foreign culture and letting them get to know me,” Jackson said of his motivation to apply for a Fulbright grant. As for how he will benefit from the experience, he said, “I expect I will become a more flexible teacher. I also hope to learn more about Polish political, cultural and social life and to teach Americans what I learn about Poles when I return.”
Fischer will depart for Krakow, Poland, in mid-September and return to the United States in late January 2008. He will teach two seminar courses, School Reform Issues around the World and Democratic Classroom Practices, at Jagiellonian University. For almost 10 years, Fischer has been working with colleagues at the Center for Citizenship Education in Warsaw and helping to build cooperation within various projects. He said he sees the Fulbright grant as a chance to deepen the collaboration and learn more about the Polish educational context.
Fischer expects to gain “a better understanding of the transition ongoing in Polish and European educational environments and a chance to see how the conception of democratic, active classrooms plays out in another cultural context.”
Simon’s award, Fulbright/Diplomatic Academy Visiting Professor of International Relations, will run from March 1 through June 30, 2008. He will teach three graduate-level seminars at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Although he is still arranging specific classes, they are likely to be Theories of International Relations, Global Environmental Politics and either U.S. Foreign Policy or International Conflict Resolution. The Diplomatic Academy is an elite school for training midcareer European diplomats.
He was encouraged to apply for a Fulbright by Dr. Cynthia Crow, a former BGSU colleague who now works for the Fulbright program in Washington, D.C., and Diane Regan, Fulbright Program Advisor in the BGSU Center for International Programs.
Following his Fulbright semester, Simon will teach and conduct research during a fall 2008 Faculty Improvement Leave at the University of Salzburg, Austria, where he spent a previous leave.
After eight years as political science department chair, Simon hopes to have a productive year of research. “I’d like to develop relationships with the other faculty at the Diplomatic Academy. Richard Harknett, a former Fulbright Scholar at the Diplomatic Academy, was able to establish a joint M.A.-Ph.D. program with the University of Cincinnati and the academy. Finally, there is a European Peace University very near Vienna and I hope to have time to meet some faculty members there, as I am chairing the development of a Peace Studies minor here at BGSU.”
The ultimate beneficiaries of these Fulbright awards will be the BGSU students fortunate enough to take classes taught by these returning professors energized by what they have learned overseas.
The Fulbright Program implements Sen. William Fulbright’s visionary concept of promoting mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic and bicultural exchange. More than 150 countries currently participate in the Fulbright Program.