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University Events

Go Global! Faculty Engagement Abroad Info Session

March 27, 2017
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
Location: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center — University Library

This information session will explore three varied approaches to overseas research, teaching and engagement; introduce resources and funding opportunities for faculty interested in expanding overseas engagement; and provide an opportunity for faculty to informally discuss ideas and opportunities they are considering.

Jeremy Wells, Professor of Historic Preservation, received a Fulbright research award to study community-participatory research techniques in the World Heritage city of Olinda, Brazil in 2015 focusing on a case study of the Horto d’El Rey, one of the first botanical gardens in Brazil. The goal of this research was to explore a possible way to dissolve the barrier between civil experts and conventional experts by inverting the conventional top-down system for heritage conservation so that it becomes bottom-up. Jeremy will discuss this study and associated challenges and rewards of conducting research in Brazil, including overcoming language and cultural differences.

Peter Thompson, Professor of Foreign Language, spent a semester teaching at Al Akhawayn University, in the Atlas Mountains, in Morocco. Such an experience is stimulating, but was especially so for Thompson, who is a North Africa specialist. He found it valuable to see the perspective of the Moroccan students. They are a motivated bunch, and they read both North African and Western assignments with great attention. Interaction with an international—but mostly Moroccan—faculty was invaluable. While there—because free time abounded—he wrote a novel, translated a Moroccan feminist’s novel, and rescued another Moroccan translation of his—one that had serious copyright obstacles. Contacts made that semester (spring, 2016) have facilitated a new Moroccan translation (in progress).

Rachel McCormack, Professor of Literacy Education, has been researching ways in which international schools in Europe meet the linguistic needs of their multi-lingual populations. While on sabbatical during fall 2015 in Europe, the Syrian refugee crisis escalated and millions of Syrian migrants sought refuge throughout Europe. Her research focus suddenly changed. Since then, she has focused her efforts on the cultural capital that migrants bring to their new situation, especially through the integration of their Mother Tongue. Her work in refugee camps has included interviewing volunteers, families, and case workers in refugee camps in Holland, Greece, and Ireland. A year ago, she set up a foundation, Books for Refugees, which has enabled her to purchase and send over a thousand books in Arabic, Farsi, and Kurdish to refugee camps and schools in Greece, Turkey, Ireland, and the Netherlands. She continues her research this spring in Holland and Sicily, where she hopes to learn ways in which we can provide more aid in the form of education and educational resources.

Kate Greene, Director of International Program Development, will share resources for preparing for overseas engagement and review opportunities to support overseas teaching and research, such as the Fulbright Scholar Program, Specialist Program, and Global Scholar Award. For more information, contact Kate Greene at x5391 or kgreene@rwu.edu.