Two NSU faculty named Fulbright Scholars

Two members of the Northeastern State University faculty, Dr. Leslie Hannah and Dr. Pamela Louderback, are confirmed as Fulbright Scholars for 2010 and will visit Esbjerg Handlesskole in Esbjerg, Denmark, and Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland, respectively.

Hannah, who departs Sept. 27 and returns Dec. 4, will offer advice and instruction in Native American studies, especially about the portrayal of American Indians in U.S. popular culture. Louderback's stay in Ireland is Nov. 1 – Jan. 31 and she will conduct post-doctoral research about British efforts to re-educate Irish children through the national school system.

"Specifically, the research will be on British-directed local level governance and policy making, as well as the ethics of such policies and practices," Louderback said. "Research on the experiences of Irish students compiled through documentation at Queen’s University Belfast and other sources will be used to draw comparisons to related research collected on American Indian students from the context of identity, citizenship and cultural studies. I will also explore Britain’s policy formulation of government schools and how policymakers sought to use national school systems as an instrument for acculturation and social control."

Esbjerg Handlesskole is a college preparatory school which Hannah said "is more focused on university life, but would be the equivalent of our 12th grade."

"Part of the curriculum is out of a class I developed while I was away at Kansas State," he said. "It is 'The Image of the American Indian in History, Song and Film.' I will teach an abbreviated version of that and other cultural offerings."

Both scholars believe their expertise in American Indian culture contributed to their selection by their respective schools. Louderback and Hannah are not just versed in the subject; they are American Indians.

Louderback thought an Irish school might be intrigued by her Irish and Haudenosaunee heritage and its perspectives, and Hannah, of Cherokee lineage, said many institutions in northern Europe are finding fascination with indigenous American cultures.

"I'm not sure why, but that seems to be a trend," Hannah said. "In Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and other Nordic countries, Native American studies seems to be a hot topic. Even in the Native circles here, people talk about that and there is a lot of truth to it. Germanic countries seem to love all things Native American."

The Fulbright Program facilitates the exchange of academics and students to and from the U.S. American participants visit other countries while U.S. institutions host foreign Fulbright Scholars. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and address international concerns.

It should be noted Louderback and Hannah are confirmed Fulbright Scholars, which is almost as momentous as being selected.

"They check everything, up one side and down the other," Hannah said. "It is to make sure all your credentials are accurate and all your publications actually published. I first applied late in 2008."

Being named a Fulbright Scholar puts Louderback and Hannah in select company. Fulbright alumni include Nobel winners, CEOs and world-renowned artists.

"The mere mention as a Fulbright Scholar offers some validation for the work I've done; the long hours of study, staying up late, the multiple pots of coffee," Hannah said. "It is a huge pat on the back."

Louderback wants to help NSU establish a long-term relationship with Queen's College, which wants to internationalize its curricula, partly through a greater focus on global studies and Native studies.

"The Fulbright Scholar program will enable me to build in my knowledge base," she said. "Teaming with Queen's faculty to augment my research in the areas of governance and public and social policy will offer opportunities to gain a global perspective of the lives of Irish students. Further, it will increase my comprehension of government-led policies for re-education; thus enhancing my teaching and research activities in the U.S."

Hannah said the Fulbright distinction brings recognition to NSU's leadership in the teaching and research of American Indian culture. NSU is nationally respected for its Native American curriculum, including degrees offered in American Indian studies and Cherokee language education. Hannah said the Fulbright trips would extend Northeastern's reputation internationally, adding "There has been a lot of good work going on here for a long time and this will open some doors for the university."

Published: 7/1/2010 9:53:34 AM

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