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Milligan professor selected for Fulbright-Hays program

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (Feb. 27, 2008) — Milligan College professor Ruth McDowell Cook, Ph.D., will have the “world as a classroom” this summer as one of 16 participants selected to travel to South Africa as part of the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program.

Cook, professor of English and humanities at Milligan, will attend a month-long seminar on how educators can prepare students from diverse backgrounds for both postsecondary study and the workplace.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to work with peer educators in a vastly different culture who share the same passion and experience many of the same challenges as I do,” said Cook.

Fulbright-Hays describes South Africa’s educational goals as similar to those of the U.S. Department of Education, promote student achievement and prepare a global work force. However, South Africa and its educational institutions face enormous challenges stemming from the nearly 50-year apartheid racial segregation. As in the U.S., ensuring access to education and success in an academic environment has resulted in a variety of South African programs targeted at disadvantaged youth. Seminar participants will join with South African educators, officials and think-tank representatives to discuss these issues and explore achievement programs, while comparing and contrasting them to U.S. practices.

“We will visit secondary schools, writing centers and a variety of workplaces and then discuss what we have observed,” said Cook.

Cook first traveled to Africa in spring 2006 to teach English courses in Kenya. It was during that time that she developed an admiration for the continent and its people. Since her return she has shared that passion and first-hand experience with her students in the postcolonial literature course she teaches at Milligan.

“The role that language played in the student movement that rocked South Africa in the final decade before the fall of apartheid is an issue I want my English majors to think critically about,” said Cook. “Although I cannot transport them to the Hector Pieterson Memorial, where I stood in April 2006, I feel that my own expanded experiences give them a deeper insight into the cross pollination brought on by understanding language, literature and politics. It makes me a better teacher of South African literature.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program is administered by the Department of Education Programs Service, Office of Postsecondary Education in cooperation with the Fulbright Commission, U.S. Department of State.

For more information, contact the Academic Dean’s Office at 423.461.8720.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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