Visiting Ukrainian Faculty Member Serving as Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence

Photo of Svitlana Kuzmina

Svitlana Kuzmina

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Aug. 3, 2009 – A visiting faculty member from the Ukraine will serve as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence during the 2009-2010 academic year at Southeast Missouri State University.

Svitlana Kuzmina, senior lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages at Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Vinnytsia, Ukraine, will spend the year in the Southeast College of Education’s Department of Middle and Secondary Education. College officials says she will teach courses in multicultural and diversity education, and secondary reading methods, conduct research with the faculty on comparative instructional strategies, and serve as a resource for faculty and students throughout the college.

The Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program is designed to promote mutual understanding of cultures through a scholar’s increased presence on campus and by assisting faculty in diversifying curriculum and educational experiences for students, faculty and the community.

Southeast is one of only 43 American institutions nationwide to be selected by the Department of State this year to host a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. Kuzmina is the only Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from the Ukraine this year.

During her year in residence, Kuzmina will be engaged in various academic activities both on-campus and throughout the University’s service region. Within the Department of Middle and Secondary Education, the visiting scholar will co-teach courses with Dr. Jean Benton, director of International Programs for the College of Education, to provide students with first-person knowledge and experiences of living, working and teaching in pre- and post-Soviet Ukraine.

“Her depth of knowledge will provide fresh perspectives to these courses,” Benton said.  “She will also be available, as a resource, to other departments within the college and across the university, and to student organizations to provide seminars, cultural presentations, and occasional lectures for faculty and students. She will also be available for presentations to community groups as well.”

Kuzmina also will be developing comparative research studies on U.S. and Ukrainian education. Through her weekly interactions with faculty, students, and parents in local schools, she will focus on issues of diversity, rural schools, and access to education, Benton said.

Kuzmina will be in residence at Southeast through the efforts of Benton, who secured funding for the full-year grant administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

During the 2008-2009 academic year, Southeast hosted visits from education professors representing universities in Northern Ireland and the Ukraine, as a result of collaborations initiated by Benton. Dr. Margaret Noe, dean of the College of Education, credits Benton with the idea to invite international scholars to Southeast and to form official partnerships between  universities.

“One of the strengths of the teacher preparation program at Southeast is the opportunity for teacher candidates to student teach at home and abroad,” Noe said.

As a result of Professor Kuzmina’s successful visit last year to Southeast, the college was pleased to support her application to return full-time as a Fulbright Scholar in Residence.

“Professor Kuzmina will add a unique, global dimension to our teacher preparation program for our students,” Noe added. “We are delighted to welcome her to Southeast as a part of our faculty.”