Fulbright Activity Boosts BC Global Reputation

Fulbright Activity Boosts BC Global Reputation

International scholars pursue diversity of projects at University

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

When Polish historian Wlodzimierz Batog applied for a Fulbright grant to pursue scholarly research in the United States, he sought Boston College as a destination.

BC offered distinct advantages in its location, faculty excellence, and Jesuit scholarly tradition, said Batog, a professor of American history at Pedagogical University in Kielce, Poland.

The historian, who is researching Ivy League unrest during the Nixon years, is one of five visiting Fulbright scholars from across the world being hosted by Boston College this year.

Meantime, two Boston College faculty members are teaching abroad this year as Fulbright scholars: Asst. Prof. Gerald Easter (Political Science), who will be lecturing on "The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transitions" at the European University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Asst. Prof. Pamela June Grace (CSON), who will teach and conduct research on nursing and medical ethics at the University of Aarhus in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Strong Fulbright faculty involvement - both as visitors here and abroad - is another indication of our continuing success in assuring that international perspectives are an important part of the Boston College intellectual life," said Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Smyer, himself a Fulbright alumnus.

Smyer cited the recent meeting of BC administrators with representatives from the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation in Germany, which administers the prestigious German Chancellor Scholarships, a further example of BC's prominence in international scholarship.

Perhaps the best endorsement of the University's global reputation comes from the Fulbright scholars themselves.

"Why BC? I came here for the first time in 1999 to study at the Summer Institute in American History and Law, and was surprised with the level of expertise of BC faculty with whom we had class, as well as with the access to information and numerous opportunities BC offered," said Batog, who was particularly impressed by History faculty members Assoc. Prof. Alan Lawson and Asst. Prof. David Quigley.

"When I applied for my Fulbright grant, Boston was the obvious choice for the reasons above, and because it is an excellent base for the whole New England and a serious intellectual center of the United States. BC's Jesuit tradition of serious scholarship played a role, too. So I came back to the friends and environment that I know."

Other Fulbright scholars visiting Boston College include an Irish poet, a Polish philosopher, a Chinese nurse and a Bulgarian teacher of the blind and deaf.

Trevor Joyce, writer-in-residence at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is conducting research on a project titled, "Poetry and History: Mutual Remappings."

"I've been involved in poetry - as poet, critic and publisher' for over 35 years now," said Joyce. "In the last four years or so, my work has taken a radically new turn, increasingly incorporating other voices than my own, and employing such approaches as collage to trouble the surface of the conventional lyric poem."

Joyce is focusing his research on Robert Dwyer Joyce - the brother of Joyce's great-uncle - who trained in Ireland as a doctor, served briefly as professor of English, published both poetry and prose fiction, and was a committed member of the Fenians, all before he left Ireland for Boston in 1866.

He continued his assortment of activities in the US, lecturing in the Harvard Medical School while publishing volumes on themes from Irish mythology, and mixing in both literary and revolutionary circles before returning to Ireland shortly before his death in 1883. But while some of his ballads, such as 'The Boys of Wexford' and 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley,' became very well known, the details of RDJ's life remain obscure.

"My choice of Boston College as American host institution was based on the reputation of its Irish Studies program, its proximity to RDJ's American stamping grounds, and its archives of 19th-century Irish materials.

"I intend to publish a paper on RDJ's life and activities in Boston, and another on the issues in the field of poetics raised by my interweaving of personal, family and public history through exploratory poetic forms and techniques."

Meiche Samantha Pang, associate professor of nursing and health sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is conducting a study titled, "A Cross-Cultural Perspective of End-of-Life Decision Making for Patients with Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type."

Pang said she chose Boston College because of work done by Luce Professor of Nursing Ethics Sara Fry with researchers at Bedford Veterans Administration Medical Center. Upon her arrival at BC, Pang learned about the Initiatives On Aging program, funded by the National Institutes of Health and administered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

"This is a great opportunity for me to get acquainted with researchers who have similar interests as me," she said.

The other two visiting Fulbright scholars are Mira Tzvetkova-Arsova, a professor of special education at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria who is pursuing studies in the education of deaf-blind pupils, and Elzbieta Jung-Palczewska, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Lodz in Poland, who is researching "Richard Kilvington's New Method in Theology and Its Role in Applying Mathematics as a Universal Language of Science."

The Fulbright Program is the US government's flagship international educational exchange program, making grants to US citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, including university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.


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