Three Western Carolina University faculty members have been named recipients of prestigious Fulbright Scholar awards and will be engaged in individual scholarly projects in Hungary, New Zealand and Mexico. They are Mimi Fenton, professor of English; Turner Goins, the university’s Ambassador Jeanette Hyde Distinguished Professor of Gerontological Social Work; and Paul Worley, assistant professor of English and director of the graduate program in English.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international exchange initiative sponsored by the U.S. government and is administered through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in which Fenton, Goins and Worley will participate sends approximately 800 American scholars and professionals to about 130 countries annually to lecture or conduct research in a variety of academic and professional fields.

While WCU has had faculty participation in the program in the past, it is rare for a regional comprehensive university of its size to have three recipients in the same year, and it is an indicator of the overall quality of the faculty, said Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost. “These faculty members continue to be an inspiration to our community, and especially to our students who, through faculty mentorship and engagement in scholarly endeavors, also may aspire to excellence in a variety of ways, including by seeking Fulbright awards. I am proud of the recognition these awards have brought to WCU,” Morrison-Shetlar said.

Fenton’s teaching and research will take her to Budapest, Hungary, from January through June in 2018 to continue her internationally recognized scholarship into the works of English literary giant John Milton. Goins’ research project will lead her to New Zealand from February through November in 2018, where she will take a qualitative approach in examining the meanings, beliefs and practices of healthy aging among a group of older Māori, the indigenous people of that country. Worley will be teaching English at a university in Mexico and collaborating with faculty members there to create English language pedagogical materials designed to assist speakers of the indigenous language Tsotsil Maya as they seek to become teachers and speakers of English.