WCU recognized as ‘top-producing institution’ for Fulbright Program

Faculty members (from left) Turner Goins, Paul Worley and Mimi Fenton are representing WCU around the world through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

With a trio of Western Carolina University faculty members currently engaged in individual research projects around the world through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, the university has landed on a just-published list recognizing the program’s “top-producing institutions” for 2017-18.

Colleges and universities across the U.S. with the most faculty members receiving Fulbright Scholar awards and with the highest number of student recipients of Fulbright grants were highlighted in the Sunday, Feb. 18, online edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. WCU is among a group of eight schools in the Carnegie “master’s” classification that have the most faculty members receiving Fulbright Scholar awards. Ithaca College leads that particular list with four scholars, while WCU and the remaining six schools have three Fulbright Scholars each.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s rundown of top Fulbright schools is based on data provided by the Institute of International Education, which administers the Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. government. Top-producing institutions are highlighted annually in the Chronicle.

The trio of WCU faculty members who received Fulbright Scholar awards consists of Mimi Fenton, professor of English; Turner Goins, the university’s Ambassador Jeanette Hyde Distinguished Professor of Gerontological Social Work; and Paul Worley, associate professor of English and director of graduate programs in English. The three were notified about a year ago that they were among recipients of Fulbright awards.

“Having faculty selected to participate in the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program is a hallmark for any institution,” said Carol Burton, WCU’s acting provost. “Having three of our exceptional faculty selected in the same year is an achievement that exceeds our expectations. It has afforded them the opportunity to extend their research in even deeper and more meaningful ways. We are so proud that Drs. Fenton, Goins and Worley have brought such recognition to themselves, to their disciplines and to WCU.”

Fenton traveled to Budapest, Hungary, in late December to begin a six-month teaching and research project focusing on the works of English literary giant John Milton and the role of the public humanities. Goins started her research project in Auckland, New Zealand, in early February. She will be examining the meanings, beliefs and practices of healthy aging among a group of older Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, through June. Worley traveled to the Mexican state of Chiapas last August to teach and conduct research aimed at helping speakers of the indigenous language Tsotsil Maya learn English, and teach English to others in that linguistic group. He will be working on his project through May.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in which Fenton, Goins and Worley are participating 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.