Over the next year, six Florida State University faculty members from across campus will travel internationally to teach and conduct research as part of the Fulbright Program.
Their expertise will take them to Japan, Kosovo, Austria, Brazil, the Philippines and Azerbaijan.
The Fulbright Program competitively selects Americans — students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists — to receive scholarships or grants to study, conduct research, teach or exercise their talents abroad. Citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States.
Perry Howell, senior lecturer in the Department of English, will teach two classes in spring 2024 at Tokai University and J.F. Oberlin University near Tokyo. One of his courses will examine U.S. ideals and values as expressed in famous public speeches from American history. His other course will explore the function of public apologies in the U.S. and Japan.
“Teaching in foreign countries heightens your awareness of what is happening around you, so you notice with new energy many of the things in your everyday life that, in your home country, you screen out as too familiar,” Howell said. “That is one of my goals in teaching abroad: to bring that sense of energy and wonder back to my teaching here at FSU and to inspire a similar perspective in students here.”
This is Howell’s second Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. During the 2019-2020 academic year, he taught at Yokohama National University in Japan as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. As Howell was finishing his doctoral studies remotely, he joined his wife Judith Pascoe, the FSU George Mills Harper Professor of English, when she taught at two universities in Tokyo as a 2009-2010 Fulbright U.S. Scholar.
Tatjana Soldat-Jaffe, associate professor of German and linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, will travel to Austria this fall to conduct linguistics research and teach at the University of Graz through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.
Her research at the Karl-Franzens-Universität’s Institute for Theoretical and Applied Translation will focus on language translation and its role in social media, with a focus on migrant populations. Many social media sites provide users with a button to instantly translate text, making the process of translation somewhat invisible and possibly skewing the way multilingual exchanges are perceived.
“With the ever-changing technology in mind and an increase in migration, social media has provided refugees — and, generally speaking, migrants — a way to maintain and expand their network of communication,” Soldat-Jaffe said. “This questions the traditional approach to translation studies: Who is the translator, and is the translated text still perceived as a translation?”
Ruby Lee, a professor in the Dr. Persis E. Rockwood School of Marketing in the College of Business, will travel to Kosovo where she will spend seven months teaching. She will also study how Kosovar consumers compare with those in the U.S. in how they view inclusivity of luxury brands. It marks her second Fulbright. In 2016-2017, Lee spent seven months as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Finland.
Slightly larger than Delaware, Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country of 1.8 million that declared independence from Serbia after the Kosovo War of 1998-1999. An estimated 23% of its population lives in poverty, according to UNICEF. Many women lost husbands and fathers in the war, and girls today are twice less likely than boys to attend vocational training programs, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Overall, children in Kosovo lag behind their European peers in student assessments, the organization said.
“The country needs people to teach so that more people can benefit immediately,” Lee said. “I feel like I’ve been very fortunate. I grew up in a very poor neighborhood, but I got an education, and I’m excited that I’ll be able to bring my skills and knowledge, my happiness, my enthusiasm and my courage to Kosovo.”
Besiki Stvilia, a professor in the School of Information, will travel to Azerbaijan and be hosted by ADA University in the fall through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Stvilia’s research focuses on developing models for information and data management, dynamics and intervention through collaborative work organization and data practices in communities. He is among the top 2 percent of scientists in his field based on citations.
Christine Mokher, associate professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education, will head to the Philippines for five months where she will continue her research while working with Urdaneta City University and nearby high schools.
She will conduct two studies related to student pathways from high school to post-secondary education and national education data system tracking through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.
“Since I’ve been at Florida State most of my research has focused on state policy and the evaluation of those policies within the United States in Florida, Texas and several other states,” Mokher said. “I’m interested in expanding that scope more broadly to look at international policies in a comparative aspect and this Fulbright provides an opportunity to start that new line of research.”
Ming Cui, a professor of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Sciences, will continue research at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil through the Fulbright Specialist Program.
She will work with faculty and graduate students in the social sciences graduate program, known as PPGCS, to encourage and promote cross-cultural collaboration and research through academic exchange.
“I hope my effort will bring international visibility and recognition to our Human Development and Family Science program at FSU while also helping PPGCS to build and expand their program,” Cui said.
This is Cui’s second Fulbright award. In 2017, she traveled to Finland as a Fulbright Scholar where she taught a graduate-level methodology course and conducted collaborative research at the University of Helsinki.
For more information about FSU’s Fulbright recipients dating back to 1951, visit global.fsu.edu/Fulbright.