Rose-Hulman faculty ready to explore world as Fulbright Scholars

Jessica Wong

Posted: Apr 15, 2021 / 11:44 AM EDT / Updated: Apr 15, 2021 / 11:44 AM EDT Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology professors Paul Christensen and Wayne Tarrant will be spending the 2021-22 academic year in Japan and Kenya, respectively, as Fulbright Faculty Scholars. (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Photo/Bryan Cantwell) TERRE […]

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Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology professors Paul Christensen and Wayne Tarrant will be spending the 2021-22 academic year in Japan and Kenya, respectively, as Fulbright Faculty Scholars. (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Photo/Bryan Cantwell)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology professors Paul Christensen and Wayne Tarrant will be spending the 2021-22 academic year in Japan and Kenya, respectively, as Fulbright Faculty Scholars.

They join a long list of current colleagues who have been selected to participate in the United States government’s flagship international exchange program. 

Rose-Hulman, the nation’s top-ranked undergraduate engineering college, has been recognized as a top producer of Fulbright scholars by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  

Christensen, associate professor of anthropology, is planning to spend March through June of 2022 doing fieldwork in Japan for a project titled Diverging Tokyo: Poverty, Revitalization and the Shaping of a Meaningful Existence Project Narrative. His findings will become the basis for a future book project examining a meaningful existence in contemporary Japan. 

“Tokyo is in the midst of comprehensive revitalization efforts that aim to remake the capital and shape the future orientation of Japan along a specific trajectory that emphasizes technological innovation and ardent consumerism,” Christensen said. “As a nation confronting many of the societal issues directly linked to industrialization – stagnant or declining populations, skepticism and uncertainly about individual lives and futures, material affluence as a poor substitute for meaningful human bonds, homelessness, and expanding inequality – Japan offers invaluable insights into the contemporary moment that can be harnessed to build a more humane and sustainable world. My book aims to advance these discussions.” 

Meanwhile, Tarrant, associate professor of mathematics, has been engaging with faculty and students at Nairobi’s Strathmore University for the past three years and worked on research with math faculty, lectured for master’s degree-level research classes, and led discussions on the use of inquiry-based learning. Kenya wants to move its educational system to emphasize more inquiry-based learning, Tarrant notes, and many teachers in Kenya feel completely unprepared to deal with the change.  

“I have been fascinated by Kenya for some time. Its educational system is relatively young, in comparison to other regions of the world. There’s lots to explore, learn from and, hopefully, contribute to,” Tarrant, a member of the Rose-Hulman faculty since 2013, said. “Radical changes in education, and in life, necessitated by COVID-19 may provide a perfect opportunity for students to experience a new kind of educational system. I could be coming to the right place at the right time.”  

A dozen current Rose-Hulman faculty and staff have participated in the Fulbright program, and have been supportive of efforts by Tarrant and Christensen to join in their worthwhile experiences. These professors are David Fisher, spending 2018-19 at the University of Limerick, Ireland; Renat Letfullin, 2018-19 in Uzbekistan; Richard Onyancha, 2014-15 at Copperbelt University, Zambia; Yosi Shibberu, 2014-15 at Jimma University, Ethiopia; Matt Boutell, 2011-12 at Copperbelt University; Rebecca Dyer, 2007-08 in Lebanon; David Mutchler, 2000-01 at University of Mauritius; Kathy Hammett, participated in the 2000 International Education Administrator Fulbright program; Peter Coppinger, 1999-2000 at Macquarie University in Australia; Michael McInerney, 1994-95 at University of San Carlos, Philippines; Michael Kukral, 1989-90 at Charles University in Czechoslovakia; and Patricia Carlson, 1975-76 at the University of Iceland. 

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