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
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.
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
Source: Office of International Affairs
|James H. Stark
||Political Science *
|Epifanio San Juan
||Renewable Natural Resources
|L. Eugene Thomas
|| India |
|Ilpyong J. Kim
||Summer Seminar **
|Philip C. Clapp
|David R. Miller
||Natural Resources Mgmt.
|Harry R. Frank
|James O. Robertson
|L. Eugene Thomas