CCU English professor receives Fulbright Award to teach in Kazakhstan
She will also be studying alternative approaches to language-learning in the linguistically diverse country of Kazakhstan, where most students are taught in a bilingual or trilingual educational system.
Howes is the sixth CCU faculty member to receive an award since 2016, and joins 20 other current CCU faculty and 12 retired CCU faculty who have also received Fulbright awards, including theatre professor Steve Earnest (China) and William Hills (Poland).
“The interconnected relationship between language and identity makes language learning not only a cognitive skill, but also an act with ethical implications,” Howes said. “It is for this reason that teaching language to students requires great care: competency in English language opens up tremendous opportunity for individuals and communities to participate in global communities, expanding cultural opportunities as well as economic and intellectual ones.
“However, in the face of increasing globalization and advanced technologies that risk homogenizing distinctive aspects of culture, we must also be careful to honor the indigenous cultures and the unique identities that allow us to experience diversity. Kazakhstan offers a very special context for this conversation, as the use of Russian language unites many ethnic groups across the country and allows easier global communication, while the presence of Kazakh maintains a unique sense of national and regional identity that pre-dates the Soviet Union’s presence there.
“As English becomes more and more enmeshed in this tapestry, it opens up tremendous resources for Kazakhstani people, and a critical approach to language is invaluable to encouraging the aspects of growth that linguistic diversity provides, while retaining the value of home languages like Kazakh that connect speakers to their heritage and traditions.”
The grant Howes received was one of the 465 teaching, research and combination scholarship awards in 137 countries for 2019-2020. As a broader part of the Fulbright Program, she will be one of more than 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program this academic year. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.
“Dr. Howes has been an active collaborator in global programming here at Coastal Carolina University, leading education abroad programs and working with colleagues from multiple departments on work last year in Kazakhstan,” said Darla Domke-Damonte, associate provost for global initiatives for Coastal Carolina University. “We are delighted to see this award help to advance the initial collaboration she began in her earlier work in Kazakhstan and appreciate the support of the Fulbright program to foster mutual understanding. Kazakhstan, with its rich multilingual experience and shifting social and linguistic systems, is a very interesting focal point for this project at this time.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide. Visit eca.state.gov/Fulbright.