Future shines for Fulbright professors
September 1, 2008 12:11 PM
This year, three SF State professors will join 800 others from around the country in trading places with faculty from all over the world as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program.
SF State Professor emeritus Bill Issel, Professor Robert Cherny and Associate Professor Russell Jeung will travel to Hungary, Germany and Taiwan, respectively, to study and teach.
Cherny, a former history professor, said he plans to teach at the University of Heidelberg, located in the southwest corner of Germany. Cherny said Heidelberg is a leading university in Germany, and the oldest.
This is Cherny’s second Fulbright. His first, awarded in 1996, allowed him to teach in Russia at Moscow State University. Teaching there led him to develop and research his interest in the Communist Party.
“In the early ‘90s they opened the world’s most important archive for scholars and historians to use,” Cherny said. “This archive had the most information about the American Communist Party.”
Cherny will go on to teach in the second semester at Heidelberg because the German university’s calendar runs on a slightly different schedule — they have one semester in winter from October to February and a spring semester from March to July.
Cherny said he will be able to continue lecturing at SF State for the fall semester without his courses being interrupted.
Cherny teaches an American history class at SF State on Tuesday nights.
Stephen Loftus, 25, a history graduate student, has taken classes with Cherny twice.
“I don’t know many professors who know their subjects as well as Cherny. He is very thorough and strict.”
Other students say they are somewhat mystified by their professor’s academic achievement.
“It’s impressive,” said Brian Allen, an English literature major. “I don’t really understand the whole Fulbright thing, but it’s cool that he is teaching at SF State.”
Cherny commented on the light workload given to Fulbright Scholars.
“You don’t have a lot of responsibility like regular faculty,” said Cherny, who has been part of the SF State faculty since 1971. “As a Fulbright [scholar], you are only responsible for one lecture meeting and a discussion once a week.”
The exchange program is named after U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, who sponsored legislation 60 years ago to encourage international exchange for graduate students and college professors. According to the Council For International Exchange of Scholars’ website, the program is designed to promote mutual understanding between different countries.
Like Cherny, Issel also said this is his second Fulbright Program. Previously, Issel was a Fulbright Professor of the American Studies Resource Center in London.
Issel, a former SF State history professor, will be studying in Hungary for a full academic year. Once there, he will hold the position as chair and will teach two seminars and a lecture class. Issel said he has been awarded the Lasizio Orszagon Distinguished Chair in American Studies, a position in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program.
One of the courses he will teach is about American identities and connects personal lives and American politics, Issel said.
“It is a biography focused course,” Issel said. “The last biographies that we will look at are Richard Rodriguez and Cesar Chavez.”
Issel said he plans on dividing his time between teaching at Pécs University in Hungary and finishing his book. He said he’s looking forward to working with the students in Hungary.
“My job in life is to help people become critical thinkers and to treat other people with respect and dignity,” he said.
Jeung, an associate professor of Asian American studies, has already begun his Fulbright in Taiwan at Tamkand University. Jeung said his interests include race, religion, community organizing, second generation Asian Pacific Islanders and social movements.
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