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RCC Art Professor Awarded Fulbright-Hayes Grant To Study in Poland

RCC Art Professor Awarded Fulbright-Hayes Grant To Study in Poland

Professor Eileen MacAvery Kane (far right) and 15 other Fulbright-Hayes participants at Warsaw University of Technology in Poland.

Eileen MacAvery Kane one of 16 American educators chosen for prestigious honor

DATE: July 20, 2018

RAMAPO, N.Y. – Professor Eileen MacAvery Kane of Rockland Community College is one of 16 American educators to have been awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Seminars Abroad Program grant to explore the richness of Polish culture and history during a four-week trip that concludes on August 5.

The grant, organized by the Fulbright Commission and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides short-term study opportunities for U.S. educators and administrators for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of peoples and cultures of other countries. The participants bring their broadened knowledge and experiences back to their classrooms and share their insights with students and colleagues in the U.S.

MacAvery Kane, the incoming Art department chair and Graphic Design program coordinator at RCC, is focusing on 20th century Polish poster design, which is globally esteemed in graphic design circles. “Many believe the reason for this phenomenon was directly related to the sociopolitical events in Poland,” said MacAvery Kane, “including the strong drive to create a national style, the 20 years of independence between the two world wars, and the isolation created by Soviet rule.”

The month-long Fulbright-Hayes program explores the relationship between the U.S. and Poland and delves into politics, national security, culture and economics. MacAvery Kane and her colleagues are traveling across Poland to see historical sites as well as fast-growing areas, such as Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw and Gdansk, to experience the richness of Polish culture and meet outstanding Polish scholars from academic centers. They are also taking part in discussions and cultural events designed to connect specialists from different academic disciplines and allow them to experience the spirit of contemporary Poland. Visits have been made to the Warsaw University of Technology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Gdansk University, in addition to cultural institutions such as the Solidarity Museum in Gdansk.

MacAvery Kane has collaborated with faculty from universities in South Africa, Mexico and the Netherlands, and the Fulbright-Hayes grant has enabled her to introduce the SUNY Collaborative International Online Learning (COIL) program to faculty at Polish universities, many of whom are interested in collaborating with U.S. educators. The COIL model of globally networked learning involves creating team-taught learning environments in which faculty from different institutions around the world work together to develop a shared syllabus emphasizing collaborative student learning and communication through project-based applied learning activities.

“Our world has become interconnected due to advances in technology and globalization. As a result, our students may be employed abroad or may serve as members of a global virtual team based in the U.S.,” said Catherine Roche, RCC's COIL campus coordinator and a Business professor at the College. “Collaborative projects extend the classroom into the world, thus replicating a global team workplace environment. By engaging students in cross-cultural activities that cultivate teamwork, decision-making/problem-solving, critical/creative thinking, and communication skills, we can better prepare them to live and work as global citizens.”

By introducing into her curriculum the historical context of the Polish poster design movement through the perspective of global and critical design aesthetics, MacAvery Kane will allow students to compare and contrast their own designs and analyze their work's cultural and historical significance.

“My Fulbright-Hayes experience has been transformative,” she said. “The opportunity to learn first-hand about history and contemporary culture is invaluable and something that will surely inform and inspire my teaching forever.”

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