By Cierra Martinez @CIERRAMARIE26
Las Positas College English professor Dr. Catherine M. Eagan has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to teach American Studies in Croatia for the spring 2017 semester.
According to a press release on the district website, clpccd.org, “The prestigious Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to foster intercultural exchange and greater understanding between peoples all over the world.
The Fulbright Scholar Teaching Program offers more than 500 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in more than 125 countries”.
In an interview with Eagan through Skype, she said, “I think the biggest difference is that I won’t be able to assume that they know as much about American culture in history as students at Las Positas do, or that they have the same kind of understanding of multicultural literature that you all have gotten since you’re millennials – since kindergarten.
“Yet at the same time, they might know more about the U.S than I realize, just because they are so inundated by U.S culture.”
Eagan has been at LPC for almost 14 years. “For the first time, I will be teaching graduate students, so that will be exciting,” she said.
Eagan said that although she will be teaching abroad, her teaching techniques will not change.
“I think I’m going to have the students doing a lot of journaling … so I know a little more about what they know, and some of those kind of quick in class assignments that teachers can do also to get a read on the room.
“I don’t want them to feel worried that their opinions aren’t welcomed, or they’re intimidated,” Eagan said.
She also shared how she first applied for the Fulbright grant. “I had applied to go on a sabbatical this year from Las Positas, and so I applied for this grant to coincide with that sabbatical so that I would have the flexibility to travel, and the Fulbright grant in this case is going to teach American literature in Croatia,” Eagan said.
“I have known about Fulbright for a long time, and I always hoped I would get to have that experience of teaching abroad someday. I’m sure it will really change my perspective on the world and on my teaching, and I hope to bring back to Las Positas students some perspective on what people on the other side of the world think about this literature that has come out of our country,” Eagan said.
Eagan also commented on her goals. Eagan said, “I am working on globalizing the curriculum at Las Positas so that students get more exposure on what’s going on in the world through lots of different kinds of classes, not just poli-sci, or history for example.”
She says that she’s just submitted paperwork for an AA-T degree in Global Studies, and really encourages students to consider studying abroad. “I am working with administrators and faculty on increasing the number of Las Positas students who feel that they can take advantage of the opportunity,” said Eagan.