Kuchar awarded Fulbright position in Ukraine
Dr. Martha Kuchar, professor of English, has been granted a Fulbright scholarship to Ukraine. She will teach at a university there during the spring 2010 semester and also will research Russian fiction written by women living in Ukraine. She is the third member of Roanoke’s English faculty to be awarded a Fulbright in as many years.
Established in 1946 under the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Its mission is to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries. Participants are chosen based on academic merit and leadership potential.
Kuchar will be teaching at Precarpathian University in Ivano-Frankivsk. Although she has yet to receive her specific assignment, she expects to be teaching classes in world literature and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in Russian literature and has co-taught several interdisciplinary travel courses as part of the College’s Intensive Learning program. Kuchar has traveled to Russia and Ukraine a dozen times and describes herself as a “long-time student” of those nations.
She also has a strong interest in pedagogy and hopes to bring a Western perspective into her classroom in Ukraine. The former Soviet state has been an independent nation for just 18 years, and Kuchar says that its educational system is still working to “nurture fresh approaches to literature, free of the constraints of Soviet ideology.” She plans to “shift the center of gravity from the lecturer to the students.”
Kuchar looks forward to discovering the Ukrainian perspective and returning home with a “bigger view of the world.” She is especially curious about how her new students in Ukraine will view literature and whether there really is “a common response to the universal.”
“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Kuchar has been selected for this honor. It speaks well of her and the overall quality of Roanoke College, said Dr. Richard Smith, dean of the College. “I am also very pleased that Dr. Kuchar will be sharing her expertise and the Roanoke College philosophy of teaching and learning with Ukrainian students and faculty members.”
In a sense, her trip to Ukraine will be a trip home for Kuchar. She is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants and still has family living in Lviv, just 90 kilometers from where she will be teaching. She is active in Ukrainian cultural life in the U.S. and says, “Lecturing in Ukraine with a Fulbright will give me an opportunity to ‘give back’ to a culture that has given me much in return.”
Submitted by Roanoke College