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Scholars build on international ties
as participants in Fulbright programs

November 30, 1998

A few years ago, chemistry professor Harry Frank was collaborating with a researcher at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, on a project involving photosynthetic proteins. This would be a lot easier, he thought, if we could work face-to-face instead of being separated by thousands of miles.

Then in 1995 he received a Fulbright award, which gave him the opportunity to continue the collaboration in the Netherlands.

"Pooling the resources of the two teams," he says, "was more efficient." Before the grant, his Dutch colleague "sent some synthetic molecules over here to be incorporated with proteins we prepare here. Then we sent them back for further characterization."

Frank says electronic communications are useful at certain stages of a project: "e-mail and the Web came in handy when we were writing up the results." But face-to-face collaboration is essential where lab work is involved.

He says his Fulbright-funded research was "very productive ... intellectually it was extremely stimulating." In addition to the publications that have resulted from the collaboration, he believes a four-year renewal of research funding from the National Institutes of Health can be attributed to the work he did as a Fulbright scholar.

Frank is just one of many UConn scholars who have benefited from participating in the Fulbright programs. Records kept by the Office of International Affairs show that since 1954, there have been 109 faculty participants, mostly recipients of American Scholar Grants for Advanced Research and University Teaching Abroad. In addition, since 1981, UConn has hosted 57 visiting scholars, and 42 students have been awarded Fulbright grants for graduate study abroad or overseas doctoral dissertation research. The grants have supported a rich tapestry of international contacts that are woven into the fabric of the University.

Malcolm Bochner, Fulbright adviser in the Office of International Affairs, says "The Fulbright programs have several ripple and multiplier effects. They affect not only the individual scholar, but in some ways the whole department."

Among those who have benefited from the Fulbright programs:

  • Bruce Stave, a professor of American history who has held three Fulbrights, says living and teaching overseas made it easier for him to draw comparisons when talking about U.S. history. He says the Fulbright awards - which took him to India in 1985/86, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines in 1977, and China in 1984/85 - changed his life. "I felt I was learning a lot about these cultures, even as I was teaching their people American history." Stave's most recent Fulbright, in China, was after the Cultural Revolution. He says the political changes gave his Chinese students greater freedom to answer questions in class. "It was a period of great optimism," he says.

  • Betty Hanson, a professor of political science, taught the theory of international relations, including how American foreign policy is made, during two stints in India, in 1986/87 and in 1991/92. As a result of her Fulbright experiences, Hanson last year introduced a new course at UConn on South Asia in World Politics. She also has reoriented her research to incorporate a perspective from India, and has published articles on public opinion and foreign policy.

  • Glenn Stanley, an associate professor of music, spent a semester in Germany in 1997, teaching and doing research on music history at Humboldt University in Berlin. His stay coincided with a particularly significant moment in the history of his host country. He says it was exciting to witness the building underway in Berlin after the unification of Germany. Stanley, whose research is on the turn-of-the-century German music critic Arnold Schering, says his semester in Berlin afforded him ready access to research materials. "I might have found the late 19th and early 20th century journals I needed scattered in libraries throughout the United States, but they are all just there in Berlin," he says. "I would walk through the libraries and the books I needed would just, as it were, fall into my hands."

These Fulbright alumni have all kept in touch with a number of former students and colleagues in their host country. Some have assisted in reviewing applications to the Fulbright programs and interviewing applicants, both from the United States and overseas.

The visiting scholar program also has brought a number of international scholars to UConn, including recent visitors in the fields of biotechnology, environmental research, gifted and talented education, law, linguistics, materials science and robotics.

Mark Bridgen, professor of horticulture and a specialist in micropropagation, hosted a Fulbright visiting scholar, researcher Madeleine Spencer-Barreto from Senegal. Spencer-Barreto investigated the micropropagation of a tuber that is an important part of the food supply in Senegal and assisted with ongoing tissue culture research at UConn involving Terrenia, the Wishbone Flower.

"You can't quantify some of the advantages that you get from this program," says Bridgen.

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu

UConn Fulbrights since 1985

* Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program
** Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar Abroad Program
Those note indicated by an asterisk area American Scholar Grants for Advanced Research and University Teaching Abroad. The list does not include graduate students who received Fulbrights or Fulbright visiting Scholars.

Source: Office of International Affairs

Gerald Sazama Economics * 1985-86 Costa Rica
Isabelle Liberman Educational Psychology 1985-86 Sweden
Leonard Katz Psychology 1985-86 Yugoslavia
Catherine Lugar History 1985-86 Brazil
Theodore Perry Comparative Literature 1985-86 Israel
Blue Woolridge Public Administration 1985-86 Tanzania
Alvin Liberman Linguistics 1985-86 Sweden
Larry Bowman Political Science 1985-86 Mauritius
Elizabeth Hanson Political Science 1986-87 India
Norman Kogan Political Science 1986-87 Italy
James H. Stark Law 1986-87 U.K.
Frederic Turner Political Science * 1987-88 Argentina
John Gatta English 1987-88 Senegal
Robert Weiss Polymer Chemistry 1987-88 U.K.
Anthony Maluccio Social Work 1987-88 U.K.
Epifanio San Juan English 1987-88 Philippines
Howard Reiter Political Science 1987-88 W. Europe
Henry Krisch Political Science 1987-88 F.R. Germany
Thomas Morawetz Law 1987-88 U.K.
Seymour Warkov Sociology 1987-88 Yugoslavia
Albert Cohen Sociology 1987-88 Philippines
Harvey Swadlow Psychology 1987-88 Yugoslavia
Pamela Hunte Anthropology 1988-89 Pakistan
Walter Whitworth Renewable Natural Resources 1988-89 Bulgaria
Gerald Murphy Public Administration 1988-89 Ivory Coast
L. Eugene Thomas Human Development/Family Relations 1989-90 India
Nancy Andes Sociology 1990-91 Peru
Martin Hirschorn International Administration 1990-91 Germany
Richard Thornton Art History 1990-91 Japan
David Walker Public Administration 1990-91 Germany
Marga Coler Nursing 1991-92 Brazil
Elizabeth Hanson Political Science 1991-92 India
Margaret Higonnet Literature 1991-92 Germany
Ilpyong J. Kim Political Science 1991-92 Korea
Katharine Moseley Sociology 1991-92 Morocco
James O'Neil Educational Psychology 1991-92 USSR
R. Berleant-Schiller Summer Seminar ** 1992-93 Brazil
Philip C. Clapp Metallurgy 1992-93 France
David R. Miller Natural Resources Mgmt. 1993-94 U.K.
Edmund Wehrle History 1993-94 Taiwan
William Berentsen Geography 1994-95 Germany
Leigh Binford Anthropology * 1994-95 El Salvador
Harry R. Frank Chemistry 1994-95 Netherlands
James O. Robertson History 1994-95 Denmark
Marilyn Waniek English 1994-95 France
Christine Simon Biology 1995-96;
New Zealand
Glenn Stanley Music 1996-97 Germany
L. Eugene Thomas Family Studies 1996-97 Turkey
Judith Kelly Biology 1997-98 France
Lucy McNeece Literature 1997-98 Morocco
Robert Thorson Geology 1998-99 Chile