Houghton Professors Named Fulbright Scholars

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Houghton College is pleased to announce that B. David Benedict, professor of political science and international relations, and James Zoller, professor of writing and literature, have both been named as Fulbright Scholars for 2010-11. Both professors will complete their Fulbright appointments during the spring 2011 semester.

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This is a wonderful opportunity to further build upon Houghton’s rich history and commitment to global education, scholarship, and service.

Houghton College is pleased to announce that B. David Benedict, professor of political science and international relations, and James Zoller, professor of writing and literature, have both been named as Fulbright Scholars for 2010-11. Both professors will complete their Fulbright appointments during the spring 2011 semester.

Through the Fulbright award, B. David Benedict will be lecturing at a Chinese university from February to July 2011. He plans to conduct research into the country’s changes experienced over the past 20 years in the areas of economics, politics and society. Having previously lived in China, Benedict expects his understanding of China to be both invigorated and tempered. “This experience should allow me to teach courses in Chinese history and politics with greater expertise, vision and dynamism as well as research recent Chinese politics more effectively while comparing and contrasting Chinese and Russian politics with greater accuracy,” he stated.

This is Benedict’s second Fulbright award, the first given in 2004 to teach and conduct research in Armenia. That experience included an award as a Fulbright Regional Program Scholar with speaking tours of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Benedict fully expects to share his China experience with his students at Houghton. “My experience in China will enrich my international and comparative politics courses and further my research into recent Chinese history, politics, and Chinese-Russian comparative studies,” he remarked. At Houghton College, Benedict teaches a range of courses in international relations, comparative politics, and American foreign policy.

James Zoller has been appointed to Pusan National University in Pusan, South Korea through his Fulbright Award. He plans to teach two courses representing different viewpoints that explore post-WWII American literature and culture. Over the years, Zoller and his wife have hosted nearly two dozen international students, predominantly from Japan, China and Korea. Through this experience, a desire to see, experience and understand the world they come from has been cultivated. “We expect this experience will help us understand and relate to students who live in our house and attend our schools,” he remarked. “As a teacher and as a writer, living in Korea will help me understand better the ways culture is embedded and embodied in language and thus in literature. This benefit is particularly important for how I approach and teach my Contemporary World literature course which continues to evolve as my knowledge expands.”

The two course perspectives that Zoller has chosen for syllabi identify the Asian immigrant experience in the U.S.A. and the American culture of restlessness and rebellion. “The two courses I have proposed represent two views of many that would shed light on American literature and culture of the post-war period,” stated Zoller. “In turn, they are necessarily linked to the culture we export and to the way we are perceived in an increasingly inter-related and inter-dependent world.”

Zoller does not see his role to be an inexhaustible dispenser of information, but rather as a co-learner, a collaborator, a teacher willing to participate in collegial give and take, and to be a listener as well as a talker. “I hope to work with my host institution(s) in assessing and strengthening their American programs,” he reflected. “In turn, they will help me understand how my home institution might attract and assist international students.”

Dr. Ronald Mahurin, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Houghton College, noted that “the selection of David Benedict and James Zoller for participation in the 2010-11 Fulbright Program is an honor for both these faculty members and for Houghton College. Not only will their teaching and scholarship be enriched by the experience at two international universities set in the dynamic context of Asian culture and society, but a generation of college students will benefit from that experience as well. This is a wonderful opportunity to further build upon Houghton’s rich history and commitment to global education, scholarship, and service.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. (http://www.cies.org/Fulbright)

Houghton College, founded in 1883, provides an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences to students from diverse traditions and economic backgrounds and equips them to lead and labor as scholar-servants in a changing world.

The college of 1,200 students is located in western New York, just 65 miles from Rochester and Buffalo. For more information, please visit http://www.houghton.edu .    

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