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Associate deans receive Fulbright Awards

Two associate deans in New Mexico State University's College of Arts and Sciences will travel overseas this spring semester as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Associate Deans Robert Czerniak and Peter Gregware are two of 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals across the country selected for the honor for the 2010-2011 academic year.

"Anyone wanting to undertake international travel for research and teaching should take advantage of the Fulbright program," Czerniak said. "It really is an amazing opportunity and not enough people do it."

Czerniak will spend five months in Chisinau, Moldova, a country located off the Black Sea between Romania and Ukraine. As part of the program, Czerniak will teach comparative urban geography and conduct research on land use change at the Technical University of Moldova. During his stay, he also will meet with other geographers and give talks at other institutions.

Students taking Czerniak's course will learn about the spatial structure and values of different cities from around the world. Students participating in the research will take maps of Chisinau and determine how areas of the capital city are used for various land uses and how those uses have changed over time.

"This kind of work has not yet been done in Moldova," Czerniak said. "Since the country broke away from the Soviet Union in 1990, the country's land use has greatly changed."

This is Czerniak's second Fulbright award. His first was in 1991, when he traveled to Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Gregware will carry out his first Fulbright in Bratislava, Slovakia to teach at the School of Law of Comenius University, Slovakia's premier university. Gregware's classes will include Rule of Law and Judicial Ethics. His students are part of the Eramus Program, which draws students from throughout the European Union.

"I really miss teaching," Gregware, the recipient of multiple teaching awards at NMSU, said. "This is my way of getting back to what I love doing."

Gregware said he chose Slovakia because of the extensive legal transitions the country has faced over the past century, more than any other in Europe. Bratislava also is centrally located between the cities of Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; and Prague, Czech Republic.

"Opportunities like this allow you to expand your understanding of yourself and the world around you," Gregware said. "The trip will be a learning process and I am curious about what the student expectations of me will be."

Czerniak and Gregware also will have the rare opportunity to share their experience with their spouses. Gregware's wife, NMSU Department of Government Head Nancy Baker, will be teaching American Politics at the University of Economics in Bratislava, on a Fulbright commission sponsorship. Czerniak's wife Elizabeth will do volunteer work in local schools.

"To have the opportunity to share our work and adventures together is rare and very appreciated," Gregware said.

The Fulbright Program operates in 155 countries worldwide and is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.