UVU Fulbright Scholar To Build Global Understanding At Russian University
April 3, 2013
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert
Written by: Torben Bernhard and Heather Wrigley
Frederick H. White, associate dean for the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar for the 2013-2014 academic year in order to lecture, consult and conduct research at the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
White, an associate professor in the Department of Languages, will interface with Russian students regarding the perception of Russia in the West, as well as participate in substantive conversations with administrators about curriculum mapping and program development.
“The purpose of the Fulbright program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is to facilitate the exchange of ideas,” said Ian Wilson, UVU’s vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. White’s collaboration with the Higher School of Economics and UVU’s continued relations with the school over the next several years will increase global perspectives on both sides and build a foundation for UVU to expand its efforts at internationalization and globalization.”
White is the fourth Fulbright Scholar recipient from UVU, which was recently named a “top producer” for the Fulbright Scholar program. Jonathan Westover, an assistant professor of business management with the Woodbury School of Business, traveled to Belarus last summer to teach MBA students at Belarusian State University and to consult business and civic groups on human resource development and performance management. Ruhul Kuddus, an associate professor of biology, lectured and conducted research at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh while also assisting non-governmental health agencies with molecular diagnoses in 2011-2012. Paul Dishman, an associate professor of marketing in the Woodbury School of Business, consulted in 2010 with scholars, students and government officials in Montenegro on maximizing marketing efforts in a free economy.
Since joining UVU in 2010, White has worked to create a relationship that would mutually benefit both universities. In November 2011, he traveled to the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, or HSE-NN, to sign a memorandum of understanding, and in 2012, three UVU professors with little or no specialty in Russian issues met with their counterparts at HSE-NN to discuss ways to develop parallel courses so that students could interact and freely exchange ideas in Russia and the United States.
These activities will culminate in the summers of 2014, 2015 and 2016, when UVU students will travel to Nizhny Novgorod where they will meet and study alongside HSE-NN students, taking courses such as the Rhetoric of Totalitarianism, Transformations of the Post-Soviet Educational System, Peace & Human Justice (with a focus on the Russian dissident movement) and more.
“When we talk about internationalization and globalization we tend to think of speaking another language,” White said. “But if we say the only way to get to know Russia is to speak Russian, that limits our access. I hope we can get people interested in bigger global topics and get around the issue of language by speaking with Russian students who speak English and then allowing the exchange of ideas. It’s my hope this will act as a model for future programs that are not predicated on knowing the language.”
While at HSE-NN, White will teach two large lecture courses and two smaller seminar sections in English, including two courses that White has offered previously to American and Canadian students: Twentieth Century Russian Culture and Post-Soviet Russian Media and Film. The focus of these courses will shift to accent the ways in which the West perceives and interprets Russia.
White will also offer two smaller seminar courses on two notable Russians in his field, the writer Leonid Andreev and the filmmaker Aleksei Balabanov, research topics on which he has published previously. These courses support existing courses (or those in development) taught at HSE-NN.
White said he hopes to enhance students’ experiences at HSE-NN by offering them courses taught in English by a native English speaker who is also fluent in Russian. He also hopes to engage students in cross-cultural communication by offering differing perceptions about historic events, Russian culture and post-Soviet film.
“Dr. White has been instrumental in helping the College of Humanities & Social Sciences achieve the goal of delivering a high quality undergraduate educational experience,” said David Yells, dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “He has improved our procedures for supporting engaged learning projects and in developing and conducting our study abroad programs.”
White’s activities in Russia will also include scholarly research. The time in Russia will be invaluable for White as a film scholar transitioning into a new area of research, Post-Soviet Media and Film, which relies heavily on contemporary social discourse in Russia. Television, radio and film provide windows into statements about Russia and its post-Soviet political, economic and cultural transformation. Living in Russia for the academic year will afford White invaluable discussions with Russians about how media, music and film depict their “reality.” Specifically, White is currently writing a series of articles on Russian filmmaker Balabanov and his particular take on post-Soviet society.
“We have faculty who are out in the world getting connected to the global community, sharing ideas, trying to build bridges to other communities and cultures — this is the larger plan,” White said. “We want to begin a dialogue between different cultures and peoples, so that when we need to communicate and understand how the world works, we can do something meaningful.”
White will depart for Russia in August and return in July 2014.