Branson receives second Fulbright Scholar Award of career

March 20, 2013

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Dr. Stephanie Branson

 

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – Dr. Stephanie Branson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville professor emerita in English who retired in 2009 after 16 years, has received the second Fulbright Scholar Award of her career. Branson, who also served as chair of the UW-Platteville Humanities Department from 2007-09, taught abroad in Wroclaw, Poland, from 2004-06 during her first Fulbright experience and returned in 2011-12 for an additional teaching opportunity. This most recent Fulbright will take her to Belgium in the fall.

The Fulbright Scholar Program, which strives to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the more than 150 countries that currently participate, is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars selects recipients.

“Dr. Branson was one of my mentors when I came to UW-Platteville, and more than any other person in Humanities at that time, she urged us to teach abroad,” said Dr. Teresa Burns, English professor and current chair of the UW-Platteville Humanities Department. “I remember that she signed me up for the CIES my first year here. After her first Fulbright she decided to stay in Poland and teach for another year, and we wondered if she’d be coming back–but she did return, and became chair of the department for a year and a half. Since she’s retired, she’s continued to encourage many of us to teach abroad.”

For her second Fulbright, Branson will teach two American literature courses, one undergraduate and one graduate, at the Catholic University of Louvain, which is located about half-an-hour from Brussels, in the city of Louvain-la-Neuve. Although she’ll be teaching in English, French is the language spoken in southern Belgium. Branson said her French language studies at UW-Madison and Tufts University in Boston, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees respectively, will be invaluable.

Branson, who now lives in Minneapolis, said whenever she teaches overseas, but especially as a Fulbrighter, she tries to offer students a deeper experience of American culture than they might have had otherwise.

“All over the globe, popular American movies, music and television can be viewed by almost anyone quite readily,” Branson said. “But Hollywood offers a very limited notion of what our culture and history mean. Through novels, short stories and films not normally read/seen abroad, introduced in an historical context, I share my literary version of America. Of course, I also learn a lot about their culture as well, and can share that understanding in any classroom I subsequently teach in.”

Contact: Dr. Teresa Burns, chair, UW-Platteville Humanities Department, (608) 342-1880, burnst@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, communications specialist, UW-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, weinbreb@uwplatt.edu

 

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