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NMSU faculty members receive Fulbright Award

Three New Mexico State University faculty members were awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant during the 2006-2007 academic year to teach or conduct research in foreign countries.


Rachel Stevens, associate professor of art and sculpture; Jeffrey Teich, associate professor of business management; and Charles Townley, professor of educational management and development, were among the 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who traveled abroad through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Stevens was awarded the grant in to research Newari sculpture in Nepal from August 2006 to January 2007. She has worked as a professional artist for more than 20 years and has taught as NMSU since 1994.

"When I arrived in Nepal in August, I was looking forward to meeting Newari sculptors who practice an ancient form of copper casting and observing their studio practices," Stevens said. "What I did not anticipate was a conceptual and aesthetic dialogue with Sunil and Santosh Shakya, two Newari icon makers who lived and worked in Patan, Nepal. This dynamic connection led to my proposing the creation of two large installations that integrate forms and images which characterize eastern and western traditions."

The work Stevens created with the assistance of the Shakyas culminated an exhibition sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.

Teich received a grant to go to the Republic of Maldives from January 2007 to June 2007. He is teaching courses at the Maldives College of Higher Education and helping the faculty with research.

Teich said he is working with the faculty to obtain the four-year universities' goal to eventually offer MBA degrees. He also is working with a non-profit, person-to-person lending organization called Kiva.org, which matches lenders in the U.S. to entrepreneurial borrowers in developing countries.

"I hope to locate a micro-lending financial institution in the Maldives or in Sri Lanka, which will be able to work together with Kiva.org to provide loans to small businesses," Teich said.

Teich has taught in the NMSU College of Business since 1990.

Townley was awarded a grant to teach and conduct research at Beijing Normal University, one of the top 10 research universities in China, from January 2006 to January 2007. He researched effectiveness and customer satisfaction and then compared them on English and Chinese language Web sites.

Townley taught information science and higher education administration while in Beijing. He said China needs more leaders in the universities because enrollment in higher education is rapidly growing, doubling between 1997 and 2004.

Townley has worked in library and information centers for 38 years, serving as dean of the NMSU Library from 1990 to 1999, and has taught in the College of Education for six years. He also received a Fulbright grant in 1999 to lecture at BNU for six months and the Fulbright Alumni Grant during Fall 2001 to teach the first distance education course in education to be simultaneously delivered in both the U.S. and China.

"What I like best about China is that it's a very exciting, changing place. The U.S. has never tried to double its higher education enrollment in seven years," Townley said. "I also love the food."

"NMSU benefits from the Fulbright Program by developing a faculty with international experience," Teich said. "This experience is then transferred to our students in the classroom, as well as allowing the faculty members to relate better to the international students."

Since the Fulbright Program was established in 1964, it has exchanged 102,900 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad in order to help build mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the rest of the world. The program operates in more than 150 countries worldwide.