An International Honor
Two UMKC professors embark on Fulbright-funded travels
Ringing in the New Year
While many people will pause for a breath of air after a hectic holiday season, Associate Professor Sidne Gail Ward will begin the New Year with a Fulbright-funded visit to Nepal.
For a professor who's wanted a Fulbright Scholar grant since the 1980s, it's the perfect New Year’s gift. Ward -- who teaches in the Department of Finance, Information Management and Strategy in the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration -- received a Fulbright Scholar grant to research and lecture about the Impact of Information Systems and e-Learning through Kathmandu University in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu touts its MBA program as the best program in Nepal.
Ward's research interests include information systems in the developing world and the effects of information technology on organizations and globalization. Ward will study how MBA students' use of e-Learning programs affect grades.
"You can track to see what people access and the relationship between the e-Learning material and grades," Ward said. "There is a positive relationship for students looking to boost their grades."
While Ward said e-Learning programs can help improve grades, it is not a replacement for in-person learning.
"I really like being in the classroom with students, and e-Learning is supplemental," Ward said. "I believe that interaction is the best way to learn, and then you provide supplemental information online."
From January to June, Ward will teach one or two MBA courses in Nepal.
A Literary Exploration
For several years, Associate Professor Kathy Krause has studied female characters in classic French romances. In the fall of 2008, the associate professor and director in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts & Sciences explored the subject as a Fulbright scholar in northern France and Belgium.
Krause received a Fulbright grant to research female lordship and literary production in Flanders, Belgium and Picardy, France in the 13th and early 14th centuries through the Catholic University of Louvain in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium.
Krause became interested in the subject when she was researching the history of several romances -- especially the "Roman de la Violette," by Gerbert De Montreuil. In these 13th-century romances, she noticed that several French women had inherited significant domains.
This was common knowledge, but Krause wanted to explore further.
"No one examined the impact such a large number of heiresses would have had in a feudal society whose ideology, codified by male clerics, was notably misogynistic," Krause said.
In Europe, Krause examined manuscripts of literary texts and historical chronicles, as well as charters and other documentary evidence related to the rules of the heiresses who were also literary patronesses.
A UMKC Tradition
Despite the exclusivity of the Fulbright program, Krause and Ward are two of several UMKC student and faculty Fulbright recipients. Since 1987, at least 11 UMKC students and 35 faculty members have received Fulbright scholarships.
By allowing for a variety of research topics to be investigated, the grants enhance the overall reputation of UMKC, said Karen Vorst, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and economics professor.
"That information is beneficial to our students," said Vorst, who participated in the Fulbright Scholar Summer Abroad program in 1996 and 2002. "They get first-hand and in-depth knowledge that others do not have access to."
In 1996, Vorst studied the emerging financial systems of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria. In 2002, she studied financial systems in Poland and the Slovak Republic. She met with officials at the Warsaw School of Economics, National Bank of Poland, the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the National Bank of Slovakia and officials at U.S. Steel. From her research, Vorst co-edited a volume of "Financial Market Restructuring in Selected Central European Countries" (Ashgate Publishing, 1998).
Gail Hackett, UMKC executive vice chancellor and provost, said the UMKC community congratulates the faculty on their accomplishments.
"Receiving a Fulbright award is a great honor for these faculty members," Hackett said. "These types of international experiences are enriching for the faculty members and also for the students they mentor and their institution when they return."
Posted: January 05, 2009