UVU Education Professor Teaches At Russian Sister University As A Fulbright Specialist
July 11, 2013
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert
Written by: Frederick White
Vessela Ilieva, an assistant professor with Utah Valley University’s School of Education, was recently selected for a Fulbright Specialist project in Russia by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. In June, Ilieva worked for two weeks as a Fulbright Specialist at the Higher School of Economics, a Russian university located in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. During her academic exchange, she taught classes in intercultural communication to students studying linguistics, international business, law and management. She also conducted faculty workshops, and presented and participated in a Russian-French seminar on migration.
In November 2011, the Higher School of Economics-Nizhny Novgorod and UVU signed a memorandum of understanding. In 2012, Ilieva was one of three UVU professors who visited HSE-NN to collaborate with faculty, explore educational opportunities, and plan programs expected to engage students at both institutions. Over the course of the next three years of summer semesters, there are plans for UVU and HSE-NN students to continue their studies side-by-side at the Russian institution in topic areas such as the rhetoric of totalitarianism, transformations of the post-Soviet education system and peace and human justice (with a focus on the Russian dissident movement).
“Since 2011, UVU faculty have been working to develop engaged learning opportunities for students here in Utah in conjunction with our partners at the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod,” said David Yells, dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “The fact that we are now participating in the Fulbright Scholar programs, shows that these efforts are having a direct benefit for our students and faculty. Fulbright scholars participate in the exchange of ideas, share knowledge with international partners and then bring those experiences back to UVU to enhance and enrich our academic programs.”
Ilieva’s work as a Fulbright Specialist this summer is yet another important step in this productive academic relationship.
Beginning on Aug. 27, Frederick H. White, UVU associate dean for the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, will spend the entire 2013-2014 academic year at HSE-NN as a Fulbright Scholar.
“The Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod was delighted to host Dr. Ilieva, and it was a great step forward for our rapidly developing relationship,” said White. “In the next few years, we intend to take UVU students to HSE-NN to engage with their students in team-taught courses on relevant contemporary topics. These Fulbright exchanges are really the first steps toward an integrated academic approach that will open global perspectives for students and faculty at both institutions.”
Ilieva is one of more than 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who travel abroad every year through the Fulbright Specialists Program. The Fulbright Specialists Program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.
Since joining UVU in 2010, Ilieva has worked to promote intercultural dialogue in local aspect as well as internationally. Her selection as a Fulbright Specialist is a recognition of these efforts. Her activities in Russia were met with great interest by students and faculty, and resulted in invitations for further collaborations in teaching and research.
The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. Over 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields.