Dr. Richard Burke, a Lynchburg English professor, will teach American literature in Kazakhstan this fall with a Fulbright scholar grant.
The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is the federal government’s flagship educational and cultural exchange program. The competitive program provides U.S. professors and other scholars with opportunities to teach and conduct research overseas and improve mutual understanding between countries.
In the former Soviet Union country, Dr. Burke will teach a course about what literature reveals about people’s attitudes toward empires, including the views of imperialists as well as people in occupied countries. He hopes that his students in Kazakhstan will develop new insights into the ideals and reality of America and an appreciation for American literature.
“I also hope that I give them a positive personal connection to the US, one that will influence their thinking about the country for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Burke said. “I expect that my teaching style will be different from what they’re used to; perhaps it will give them a sense of ways of teaching that they haven’t thought of yet.”
Dr. Burke has taught English at University of Lynchburg since 1985. His international experience already includes academic tours in Tunisia, Japan, and Korea, and he has hosted visitors from the Soviet Union in his home. He is a founding fellow of Lynchburg’s Teaching and Learning Center. He hopes the experience allows him to learn how college professors in Kazakhstan approach teaching and student motivation. “For someone who has spent his career in higher education, the chance to immerse myself in another country’s system will be fascinating,” he said.