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NAU Fulbright scholars teach worldwide

From Africa to Australia and more, Northern Arizona University faculty receiving Fulbright grants are taking their teaching and learning on the road.

NAU has ranked among those with the largest number of faculty receiving Fulbright U.S. Scholar grants within its classification for the 2009-10 academic year.

“NAU’s leadership in receiving Fulbright grants is a recognition of our excellent faculty and their  accomplishments in research and teaching,” said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost for Academic Affairs. 

The university keeps Fulbright prospects at the forefront for faculty by offering workshops discussing Fulbright opportunities and international teaching and research opportunities.

Recipients of Fulbright awards this year include Aregai Tecle, a professor in the School of Forestry; Nancy Paxton, a professor of English; Lori Poloni-Staudinger, an assistant professor in Politics and International Affairs; and Mandy Hansen, director of International Recruitment for NAU’s Center for International Education.

Tecle, who was born in Ethiopia, is researching at the African Union, formerly the organization of African States, and teaching in the Environmental Science Program at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

His research focuses on developing early warning systems and interventions for conflicts in African nations.

Tecle also is teaching two courses: Hydroclimate and Environmental Issues in East Africa, and Conflict Avoidance and Management.  

“Africa has been going backward instead of forward in its economic and political development because of continuing conflicts within and among countries,” said Tecle, who hopes to develop mechanisms for predicting and preventing conflicts at African borders.

Tecle said his environmental teaching will include educating students about the possible effects of climate change and how to predict and manage droughts and flooding. 

Paxton is “thrilled to be named one of six Fulbright Senior Scholars working in Australia for 2009-10,” she said. “This award has given me the opportunity to complete essential original research for a project I have been working on for the last five years, titled, Books Travel: Modernism and Literary Censorship in a Global Marketplace.”

As a Senior Fulbright Scholar, Paxton is based half time at the Australian National University in Canberra and at James Cook University in Townsville, where she is researching and presenting seminars on the careers of authors whose works were originally censored, including D. H. Lawrence and Jean Devanny. 

“My Fulbright award has given me a life-changing opportunity to meet faculty and students at several major universities in Australia,” Paxton said. “Most of all, it has given me the time to research, think and write about the culture, history and censorship practices in the past and present in Australia and in the United States.”

Poloni-Staudinger, who is researching the relationship of national-separatist terrorism and women, also is teaching American Foreign Policy and conducting political contention research seminars at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria.

“I focus on the terrorist herself, the response of civil society to the terrorist and terrorist acts, the response of the state, particularly female political leaders, and the response of women in society,” Poloni-Staudinger said. “This is important because national-separatist terrorism is understudied, and it is important to understand if the motivations and reactions of women differ from men.”

She also will expand her research to include other existing social movements that are not as extreme as terrorism, such as environmental movements in Austria.

Hansen was selected as a 2009 participant for the International Administrator Program with the Fulbright Commission in Germany. Hansen has traveled to Germany to research how universities in the United States can work with international higher education to enhance the quality and quantity of international academic activities.

“The focus on this special program was on the areas of international activities of universities, career services, fundraising and network building,” Hansen said.

The experience provided Hansen with an overview of higher education structures in Germany. “At the same time it was a mutual endeavor,” she said. “I met with German hosts—universities, student affairs organizations—and had the chance to give updates on the developments in the U.S.”

NAU also is hosting eight international Fulbright students, a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant and an international Fulbright Scholar.  

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