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7 faculty members selected for program to South Korea

3rd annual ZSEIFS part of 2016-17 International Year Of… program

Seven WKU faculty members have been selected to participate in the third annual Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar (ZSEIFS).

Led by Tim Rich (Political Science), administered by the Office of International Programs (OIP), and made possible by the generous support of the participants’ academic colleges and departments, the 2016 ZSEIFS will take the seven faculty to South Korea for a two and a half week interdisciplinary study program. The selected participants represent three academic colleges and seven departments.

Faculty members selected for the 2016 ZSEIFS to South Korea are D’Lee Babb, Family and Consumer Sciences; Kimberlee Everson, Educational Administration, Leadership and Research; Jooyeon Hwang, Public Health; Samuel Kim, Psychology; Jeffrey Samuels, Philosophy and Religion; Helen Sterk, Communication; Michael Ann Williams, Folk Studies and Anthropology.

Both an integral component of the International Year Of… (IYO) program and a comprehensive internationalization strategy, the ZSEIFS is designed to infuse international content into the teaching, research, and service of its participants. Under the leadership of a faculty expert, the ZSEIFS brings together faculty from different disciplines and backgrounds to both collectively and individually investigate a target country for a full semester.

Each ZSEIFS culminates in a multi-week in-country program that includes visits to partner universities and key cultural sites, as well as provides the faculty ample time to explore their own academic interests and develop relationships within their respected fields. Equipped with new knowledge and connections, ZSEIFS participants return to campus with enhanced courses, new lines of research, and an expanded network of contacts across WKU.

The 2016 ZSEIFS will only deepen and expand WKU’s manifold connections to South Korea. With a cadre of talented Korean faculty across the WKU campus, four exchange partnerships with South Korean universities, and an increasingly rooted Korean language program, South Korea was a natural choice for the third country of focus for the ZSEIFS and associated International Year Of…

The country’s prominence at WKU reflects a worldwide trend.

“South Korea plays an increasingly important role not only in international trade, but also areas as diverse as sports to pop culture,” Dr. Rich said. “Student interest in Korean culture has also increased considerably just in my time at WKU.”

ZSEIFS participants will have the opportunity to examine the East Asian economic powerhouse and cultural driver firsthand during the in-country portion of the program.

However, the investigation of South Korea will begin long before the early summer departure date. Starting in December and continuing throughout the spring semester, participants will meet regularly to discuss a set of common readings. Additionally, they will utilize the spring months to develop and pursue individual reading lists relevant to their academic interests and goals.

Preparations are already underway for the ZSEIFS to Bosnia-Herzegovina in summer 2017. Applications for that program will be available in August 2016. For information on the ZSEIFS or to view the video account of the 2015 ZSEIFS to South Africa, visit www.wku.edu/zseifs.

The Zuheir Sofia Endowment was created to facilitate the mission of the Office of International Programs, which endeavors to provide leadership in the development of a strong international profile. Zuheir Sofia, a 1969 WKU graduate and 2014 Honorary Doctorate recipient, is chairman, president and CEO of Business Bank of Florida Corp.

About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in an global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.

Contact: Addie Cheney, (270) 745-3036

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