Five faculty members at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have been selected as Fulbright Scholars for the 2022–23 academic year.
The Fulbright Program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. About 1,200 US scholars receive awards each year to teach, research, or complete professional projects abroad. College and university faculty and administrators, as well as professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, independent scholars, and others are eligible.
Gaoue, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, will study the sustainable harvest of wild plants in South Africa. While at the University of Johannesburg, he will use permanent research plots at Klipierviersberg Natural Reserve to investigate how the wild plant Boophone disticha responds to roots harvest across an elevational and insect herbivory gradient and develop sustainable harvest plans.
“Existing studies on defining sustainable wild plants harvest limits often fail to account for the synergistic role that other natural or human-induced disturbances can play in overestimating these limits,” said Gaoue. “In this project, I will develop a research program to investigate how additional stressors from insect herbivory and altitudinal gradient can limit the rate at which wild plant species can be harvested by local people. This will lead to the development of sustainable harvest strategies in a context where the system faces multiple stressors.”
Luther, professor and director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media in the College of Communication and Information, will conduct research and teach at Masaryk University, the second-largest university in the Czech Republic. She will teach two courses in the Department of Media Studies and Journalism: an undergraduate course in international journalism and a graduate course in media enterprise.
As a Fulbright-Masaryk Distinguished Scholar, she will research the underlying factors that may contribute to individuals in the Czech Republic being susceptible or resistant to Russia’s information warfare campaigns and social and digital activism amongst young adults in the Czech Republic.
“Doing a Fulbright opens so many doors in terms of networking with other educators and broadening my research area,” said Luther. “Having this distinguished Fulbright comes with a great responsibility to serve as an ambassador to others, and I look forward to this incredible experience.”
She plans on bringing the knowledge and experiences she gains in the Czech Republic back to the classroom and her colleagues in UT’s College of Communication and Information.
Neelam Chandra Poudyal
Poudyal, an associate professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries in the Institute of Agriculture, will visit the Institute of Forestry on the Pokhara Campus of Tribhuvan University in Nepal. He will collaborate with the institute’s faculty in wildlife and protected area management to conduct research on sustaining the coexistence of humans and wildlife in the fringe areas of Nepal’s national parks—work that can be applied to other protected areas.
“Human–wildlife conflict is an enduring issue for biodiversity conservation around the world,” said Poudyal. “By evaluating and disseminating knowledge about the decades-long experience of Nepal’s unique park revenue sharing program, which is not yet widely known in other countries, I expect to generate new knowledge from Nepal’s distinctive approach to inform human–wildlife conflict management around the world.”
Poudyal believes Nepal is uniquely suited for this research because the program has been implemented across its 13 national parks, which vary in size, revenue, location, human pressure, and other factors, offering an ideal data set for rich analysis. Poudyal also plans to develop workshops geared toward training Institute of Forestry students how to write successful research grants and publish their work in international peer-reviewed journals.
Taylor, a professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries in the Institute of Agriculture, will spend much of 2023 at the University of Eastern Finland’s European Forest Institute in Joensuu researching the carbon connections between forests and forest products and climate change. Specifically, he plans to research how forest management and decisions about forest product manufacturing and utilization can help mitigate climate change.
“Forests store carbon, and harvesting trees reduces the carbon inventory—at least for a while,” said Taylor. “Wood products also store carbon and, perhaps more importantly, provide alternatives to fossil carbon–intensive materials such as concrete and steel. I will be looking at the holistic carbon impacts of growing forests, harvesting trees, and using wood.”
Wolbers, a professor of theory and practice in teacher education in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, will spend 10 months at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. The center, recognized as one of Africa’s leading institutions for Deaf studies, fosters equal opportunities through a teacher education program that is multilingual, multicultural, and equity minded.
“I have an amazing opportunity to continue to grow as a researcher and educator who works in partnership with the Deaf community to advocate for accessible and equitable education for Deaf children,” said Wolbers.
The center’s Deaf education programs have doubled in size over the past five years, and community outreach efforts span 46 schools for the Deaf across South Africa. Its faculty has invited Wolbers’s involvement with advising postgraduate students’ research, offering professional development to community schools, and teaching two courses on writing and language instruction for Deaf students.
Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375, firstname.lastname@example.org)