TTU English professor awarded Fulbright Scholar grant to Poland

A Tennessee Tech University English professor has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland, for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Kevin Christianson, a scholar of Slavic culture and literature, will be sharing information about modern American literature and culture during his time at the Polish university.

According to the State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Christianson is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

“Being awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant is an opportunity for both the professor and the institution to gain a level of prestige and recognition,” said Homer Kemp, interim chairperson of TTU’s English and communications department.

“Gaining experience in another country’s education system is also an excellent way to enhance a professor’s intercultural understanding,” he added.

Kurt Eisen, interim associate dean of TTU’s College of Arts and Sciences, agreed. “The Tennessee Board of Regents has a particular interest in creating stronger international dimensions in its academic programs right now, so Dr. Christianson’s Fulbright Scholar grant models that commitment to international study.”

Because Christianson has had a long-term interest in Slavic culture and literature, including an intense language study, the award is also an opportunity for both personal and professional growth, Eisen said.

“He incorporates aspects of Slavic culture and literature into his courses, and I think students are impressed when a professor is committed enough to immerse himself in the world he is teaching them about,” he said.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program — America’s flagship international educational exchange program — has provided opportunities to more than 279,500 people to observe each others’ political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants.

More than 105,000 Americans have studied, taught or researched abroad and more than 174,000 students, scholars and teachers from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States because of the program. It operates in more than 150 countries worldwide.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.