Three UD faculty recently won prestigious Fulbright awards to conduct scholarship abroad.
Martha Carothers, professor of art, is assisting colleagues in Hong Kong universities to strengthen general education in the final year of preparation for their transition to a four-year curriculum. Carothers is one of more than 20 “Team Fulbright” American professors since 2008 to be associated with a Hong Kong host university, in her case, the City University of Hong Kong.
Working at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, Jack Puleo, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, recently deployed sensors he developed to capture comprehensive data on sand transport for improving beach erosion models. Experts estimate that global sea levels will rise nearly five feet in the next century, increasing shoreline erosion and costing the U.S. an estimated $130 million annually on beach nourishment alone.
S. Ismat Shah, professor of materials science and engineering, is developing research collaborations with Baku State University in the Republic of Azerbaijan. His research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of nanoscale materials, with a focus on energy applications. Shah's expertise in thin-film photovoltaics, or solar cells made from plastics, is of special interest to scientists there because solar power is an untapped resource in Eastern Europe.
American diplomat George Messersmith broke a secret German code during World War I. In the 1930s, as America's consul general in Berlin and minister to Austria, he warned of the rising threat of Nazi Germany.
Known as a “Diplomat of Democracy,” Messersmith (1883–1960) today continues to provide unique insight into global politics and the American identity through his meticulous correspondence during 10 diplomatic posts on three continents between 1914 and 1947.
The Messersmith Papers, one of the most heavily used archival collec-tions at the University of Delaware Library, are now available at the library's website, thanks to a digitization grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The papers have informed numerous research theses and dissertations, as well as such books as In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. Erik Larson, author of this 2011 New York Times bestseller, refers to the Messersmith Papers as “one of the most beautifully archived collections I've ever come across.”
For a first anniversary, the traditional American gift is made of paper. For its first anniversary this past October, the Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware received a very fine paper gift, indeed — a check for $12,000 — presented during a spectacular celebration featuring costumed dancers posing as lions and dragonflies.
The donation, made by Dennis O'Brien, president and CEO of China Monitor Incorporated, will help support the housing costs of visiting scholars to the Confucius Institute.
A collaboration of the University of Delaware and Xiamen University, the Confucius Institute was established at UD in 2010 with the support of the Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. Jianguo Chen, associate professor of Chinese at UD, is the institute's director, and Jianjun Huang, deputy dean of the International College at Xiamen University, is the co-director.
Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse applauded the institute's progress in meeting its objectives of building interest and competence in Chinese language and culture, fostering a deeper appreciation of China's global importance, and building a bridge between UD and the economic sector.
“I'm delighted at so much activity that has involved not only UD faculty, staff and students, but also the community,” she noted.
More than 500 students from UD, Lincoln University and four public schools have participate in 27 classes hosted by the institute so far, including Chinese language, history, calligraphy, painting, folk dance, taiji and martial arts. Another 5,000 people from the community have attended cultural events, ranging from a Chinese film series to dance performances.
“We wish the Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware continued and best development and its students every success, bringing the Chinese and American people closer together,” said Xiamen University Senior Vice President Guofeng Chen.
The Confucius Institute is more than meeting its goals, according to Rosanne Murphy, a retired teacher from Newark, Del., who recently enrolled in a Chinese language class.
“It's a time of meeting and understanding each other,” Murphy said of the class. “The best part is that we're giving to each other — it's a true cultural exchange.”
The University of Delaware has launched a new website in Spanish that, at more than 100 pages strong, is one of the most extensive translated websites in the United States.
The website is designed to welcome and introduce Spanish-speaking audiences in Latin America, as well as in the U.S. — from prospective students to corporations — to the University's academics and research, English language training, admissions and student life.
“The University's new website in Spanish is an important step in UD's continuing globalization and our goal to develop a more diverse campus community,” said David Brond, vice president for communications and marketing. “We are pleased to launch this site, and we invite our Spanish-speaking friends in Latin America and around the world to join the UD family as we ‘Atrevete a ser el primero' [Dare to be first].”
"I've never come across an American university with a prominent portion of its website translated into Spanish or any other language,” noted Alec Campbell, managing partner in NetGrowth Group, the Internet marking company that worked with UD's Office of Communications and Marketing on the project. "If the University of Delaware's translated website is not unique, it's certainly forward thinking.”
Campbell received his bachelor of science degree with honors in economics with a minor in management information systems from UD's Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics in 1992.
The project was funded by the Unidel Foundation, which was founded in 1939 by Amy Elizabeth du Pont in memory of her father, Eugene du Pont, the former head of the DuPont Co.
Susan Clark Lee touched the lives of thousands of international students and scholars during her 42-year career at the University of Delaware.
Lee, the former director of UD's Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS), died Sept. 24, 2011, at the age of 63.
Lee's caring nature was a constant over the years — whether securing safe travel for an arriving student stranded at the airport in the days before cell phones, to shepherding newcomers through the application process for their visas. She also shared a wealth of information about housing, food and other aspects of daily living to make UD's international visitors feel at home.
Anne McCullin, an associate at OISS who worked for Lee for 15 years, recalls numerous good deeds made by her former boss.
“She bought shoes for a student who had difficulty walking because she wanted the student to have a sturdy pair of shoes to help her walk around campus,” McCullin said.
Lee also visited students and scholars when they were sick or hospitalized. She accompanied students to court who had been charged with traffic or other offenses, providing moral support and taxi fare. She spoke with and calmed many parents overseas who had concerns about their sons or daughters. She stayed in the office late the day before a holiday just in case a student or scholar needed anything at the last minute, and she was on call at all times.
“I feel very fortunate to have had Susan as a friend and mentor. She was a great woman, an excellent teacher and a caring adviser who dedicated her life to helping and assisting UD's international community,” said Younes Haboussi, immigration services coordinator at OISS.
“She was able to keep up with all the federal government requirements involved in keeping students, scholars, employees and dependents legal, while working hard to make their stay at UD a pleasant and enjoyable one. I know that her legacy will continue for a long time and many international students who pass through Newark have her to thank for their own success.”
Lee's kindness didn't go unnoticed by her international charges — students often kept in touch and came back to visit Lee.
“Susan Lee viewed the University of Delaware's international students and scholars as her priority and part of her extended family,” said Jennifer (J.J.) Davis, vice president for finance and administration. “Susan had the keen ability of making sure everyone was part of the UD community, while focusing on the compliance and regulatory functions of OISS as well.”
A tree will be planted in Lee's memory during a ceremony on the UD campus this spring, Davis said.
Evans Frimpong, a senior majoring in sociology at the University of Delaware, became the first Blue Hen player to be selected in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Draft.
The forward from Accra, Ghana, was selected by the Chicago Fire in the first round, the ninth overall pick of the four-round draft of the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft in January.
Frimpong, the son of Stephen Frimpong and Agnes Acchaa, is UD's first double-digit goal scorer since 2004, and only the sixth player in Delaware men's soccer history to earn conference Player of the Year honors. He lists David Beckham as his biggest influence.
“I am overjoyed for Evans because he has been such a driving force behind this success and I think it is a fitting end for him,” said soccer head coach Ian Hennessy, of the team's 13-6-4 record, a first-ever Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament where the Blue Hens knocked off Virginia in the first round for their first-ever NCAA victory.
“He now gets the opportunity to compete with the best players in the MLS and to compete against the likes of David Beckham and Thierry Henry in the league, which is every boy's dream who plays soccer,” Hennessy said.
The University of Delaware ranks fourth among the top public doctoral institutions in the United States in the percentage of its students who study abroad, according to the 2011 Open Doors report, issued by the Institute of International Education.
More than one in three UD students (38.1 percent) pursued short-term study abroad, defined as eight weeks or less, during the 2009–2010 academic year, exceeded only by the College of William and Mary (43.9 percent), Miami University (40.7 percent) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (39.2 percent).
Of the 3,615 UD students awarded undergraduate degrees in 2009–2010, a total of 1,377 had pursued studies internationally. Currently, UD offers more than 70 study-abroad programs in over 45 countries.
“Despite the economic downturn, more than one-third of UD students study abroad, and we are committed to helping students pursue this opportunity,” said Matthew Robinson, director of the Institute for Global Studies (IGS).
The University, through the IGS, awards over $700,000 in merit- and needs-based scholarships for study abroad, and many departments also offer scholarships.
UD is the leading academic destination in Delaware for international students. Of the 3,825 international students in Delaware during the past year (up 27.3 percent over the previous year), UD had the highest number — 3,027 students — followed by Goldey Beacom College with 422. Students' leading places of origin included China (46.1 percent), India (11.4 percent), Saudi Arabia (7.8 percent), South Korea (6.7 percent) and Turkey (5.2 percent).
International students also contributed an estimated $102.1 million to Delaware's economy.