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TTU News

Bonita Barger, an assistant professor of decision sciences and management at Tennessee Tech University, will spend the coming academic year in the Baltic state of Lithuania thanks to a grant from the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program.

For the assignment, which begins in August and runs through June 2006, Barger will present a series of lectures about international management that creates a technological collaboration between students at TTU and Lithuania’s ISM University of Management and Economics, allowing both to work together in virtual, online teams.

The lecture series is a model of a similar international management class she taught in Spring 2004 in partnership with TTU’s sister institution, Dohto University in Japan.

Barger is the first TTU College of Business faculty member to teach an online class, and she won a Tennessee Board of Regents Innovation Award in 2002 for best practices in distance learning environments.

She is also the first TTU College of Business faculty member to participate in the Fulbright program — but her visit to Lithuania won’t be her first international experience.

She was a Peace Corps volunteer who assisted poverty-stricken women in El Salvador just prior to the Central American country’s revolution in 1980, and for eight years, she served as a consultant to the organization, helping to provide training and preparation for its volunteers.

“I was never the same after my Peace Corps experience. It created a desire in me to continue giving back to the world community, and I haven’t been able to get that idea out of my blood since,” she said. “So I feel very fortunate to have been chosen for this selective program, and I appreciate the opportunity to work in Lithuania.”

Lithuania is located in northeastern Europe, on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The largest of the Baltic states, it became the first to declare its independence from the former U.S.S.R. in 1990.

The U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program, which is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, has helped thousands of American scholars and professionals lecture and conduct research in more than 140 different countries.

Named for Sen. J. William Fulbright, the program was started shortly after World War II to help promote mutual understanding between people of the United States and those of other countries.