EHS Fulbright faculty discuss their global experience

Dr. Nancy Sherman, left, and Dr. Jenny Tripses, right, are both faculty in the Leadership in Education, Human Services, and Counseling department who have served abroad as Fulbright Scholars.

April 4, 2013

By Steven Johnson ’13

In college, students are encouraged to study abroad, experience new cultures and expand their education through travel. The same can be said about their professors.

Both Dr. Jenny Tripses and Dr. Nancy Sherman, faculty in the Leadership in Education, Human Services, and Counseling department, served as Fulbright Scholars in Eastern Europe, teaching and learning through one of the most prestigious international educational exchange programs in the world.

Tripses taught U.S. instructional practices to undergraduates at Vinnytsya Teacher Training University in Ukraine during the spring of 2012.

“In November of 2010, my husband brought me the letter saying that I had gotten the Fulbright,” she said. “I was very excited about the opportunity because it’s competitive and very generous.”

Tripses described her experiences in the Ukraine as rewarding. She traveled to the former Soviet block country to discover how she could contribute to school leadership development. She ended up teaching English classes twice a week while visiting schools and working with the dean of students.

“We put together ideas of leadership development that students might do with their deans at the university,” Tripses said. “The rector, which is like their version of a university president, is very supportive and interested in that.”

Sherman was awarded a Fulbright Lecturing Award to teach social work courses at the Higher School of Social Work and Social Pedagogy “Attistiba” in Riga, Latvia, in 2001– 02. In fall 2008, she was awarded a Fulbright Lecturing/Research Award for Romania, where she taught career development and career counseling at the University of Oradea and researched vocational identity of first-year university students.

In addition to her work in Eastern Europe, Sherman also traveled to Bhutan, a small country in the Himalayas, where her traveling group, sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors, sought to bring the profession of counseling to Bhutan at the behest of the king of Bhutan.

“He thought there was a great need for it,” Sherman said. “We observed that there was in fact a need for counseling in Bhutan.”

While there, Sherman worked with the Thunder Dragon Counseling Institute, which offers collaborative service learning opportunities and introduces participants to Bhutan so that they can plan a three-month, or longer, sabbatical to promote counseling in the tiny nation.

Both professors had high praise for their time spend abroad.

“The Ukrainians that I met were extremely hard working,” Tripses said. “They are very hospitable, friendly, and their families are very important. My students were first class.”

For her part, Sherman has plans to return to Bhutan in the near future to continue her work.

“There is now an agreement between the National Board for Certified Counselors and the Ministry of Health in Bhutan where the NBCC will supply licensed counselors to come every year and keep working on what we have started there,” she said.