Seen as reflection of BC's international presence

Fulbright Scholars Active in 1998-99

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College is enjoying a particularly active year in the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program, hosting four researchers from overseas after having two BC faculty members spend last semester abroad.

While the University has participated in such exchanges for a number of years, administrators and faculty say the level of activity this year mirrors BC's growing presence in the international domain.

"These are very positive developments," said International Programs Director Marian St. Onge. "What's exciting is how much more we could, and will be, doing. We've established some wonderful partnerships overseas, and there is a lot of interest overseas in arranging faculty visits to BC, or hosting BC representatives.

"People who have gone on Fulbright grants, whether once or several times, find them to be extraordinarily worthwhile," she said.

Last fall, Prof. Dia Philippides (Classical Studies) visited Greece, where she taught at the University of Athens and continued developing a CD-ROM containing the text of a Renaissance Greek romance and an analysis of its language and form. It is the first electronic work of reference of its type for modern Greek literature, she said.

This year's Fulbright Visiting Scholars include, from left: Tatyana Kalkanova, Prof. Dia Philippides (Classical Studies), and Dragoljub Stojanov. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

"This was the fourth time I had received a grant to work in Greece, but that does not lessen the importance of such an opportunity," said Philippides. "I have come back to BC renewed, with new teaching experience, a finished research project, and some more valuable impressions from travel and living abroad."

Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Rhodes (Romance Languages and Literatures) received a Fulbright grant for her project on a collection of novellas by Baroque Spanish writer Maria de Zayas. She pursued her research at the University of Barcelona and other sites around Spain.

"The Fulbright program fills a very important need," said Rhodes. "These grants allow you to do the kind of sustained research and writing which would be almost impossible otherwise in a normal academic year."

Visiting Fulbright faculty cite their ties with University administrators or faculty and the attraction of staying in the Boston area as major reasons for coming to BC. After several months, they report more attractions, such as excellent facilities and resources, and a congenial atmosphere.

Tatyana Kalkanova, a teacher of language and literature at the American College of Sofia in Bulgaria who is affiliated with the Slavic and Eastern Languages Department, came to BC partly because it is one of few American universities which offer Bulgarian as a language course. She also saw an opportunity to broaden her research on naming traditions among Bulgarian families.

"These are wonderful conditions for doing work," said. "The libraries and the computer technology that are available have been very helpful. I was able to find information about immigration and related areas here I would not have found in Bulgaria."

"It has been a very satisfying time here," said University of Sarajevo Professor of Economics Dragoljub Stojanov, a former Bosnian minister for foreign trade who is teaching in the Economics Department. "The faculty here tend to have a different background in economics than mine, and it has been very interesting to hold discussions with them. I think we have learned from each other."

Other visiting scholars at BC this year are Jan Peter Stromsheim, a consultant with the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Education's Compulsory School Division, and Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, a lecturer in Modern Irish at the National University of Ireland-University College Dublin.

Stromsheim is at the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy in the School of Education, working on a project dealing with international surveys of student achievement. Leith's affiliation is with the Burns Library, where he is lecturing and researching the poetry of Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, this year's Burns Scholar in Irish Studies.

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