May 23, 2011

Four Buena Vista University faculty members who have been selected as McCorkle Fellows  left May 23 on a two-week trip to South Korea to broaden their field of knowledge in their academic specialties.

They are:

  • Timothy McDaniel, assistant professor of mathematics and business
  • Dr. James Hampton, professor of biology
  • Dr. Inez Schaechterle, associate professor of English
  • Kathy Kapitan, instructor of English

Accompanying them on the trip are Dr. David Evans, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, and Dr. Kihwan Kim, assistant professor of management.  Kim, who is a native of Korea and has many contacts there, will lead the trip.

"The McCorkle Fellowship program gives selected faculty the opportunity to travel to an area with which they may not be especially familiar, to broaden their global understanding, to make contacts, and to experience a different culture and visit foreign institutions,” says Evans.  “We are making a focused and systematic effort to encourage international experiences for our students, and the McCorkle Fellowship provides faculty with the incentive to think more internationally about their own work as scholars, teachers, and citizens."

"It is also important for our faculty to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Korea to continue to support our students from there,” he adds.  “We have many positive relationships with South Korean institutions — both secondary and colleges and universities — and we want to visit with them, see their facilities, and continue to strengthen our bonds with our friends in Korea."

This is the sixth year of the McCorkle Fellowship program, which was established through the generosity of the late Drs. Paul and Vivian McCorkle, who were both Life Trustees of BVU, to provide selected faculty members with an opportunity for international travel to enhance their scholarly knowledge and to add international dimensions to the curriculum.  The first group traveled to Argentina and Peru in 2006.  The second group traveled to India in 2007. The third group traveled to Israel and Egypt in 2008.  The fourth group traveled to Turkey in 2009. The fifth group was in Japan in 2010.

“I want to learn more about South Korea, especially since we have some students from that country,” says McDaniel. “I also want to get to know some of my faculty colleagues better, and ‘travel’ is a great way to do just that.”  Though this is his first trip as a McCorkle Fellow, McDaniel has traveled extensively with BVU students over the past 10 years on academic trips to Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Turkey.

This is Schaechterle’s first international academic travel at BVU.  “I haven't traveled much outside the U.S. —Canada and Ireland only — and my fellow, more experienced travelers have taught me a lot already,” she says. “So for me, part of this trip is simply learning and becoming confident with international travel so I can share travel with students through BVU’s January Interim in the future. In South Korea specifically, I'm looking forward to experiencing a very different culture and a cosmopolitan city. I'm also interested in checking out the comics/sci-fi/fantasy scene. I'm looking forward especially to our stay at a Buddhist temple, as well.”

Schaechterle also hopes to bring back stories, photos and other items that will function as writing prompts for her students, especially in creative writing classes.

This is also Kapitan’s first academic international travel at BVU. “Studying the Korean history, language, and culture is an opportunity to learn about the world from another perspective,” she says.  “My goals will be to be a great student and to make connections in Korea.  When we return, I am looking forward to participating in events with the international students and speaking to BVU and Storm Lake community groups.”

“All my classes will benefit from this opportunity for me to be a student again,” adds Kapitan. “BVU’s University Seminar (for first-year students) emphasizes globalization and travel; as an instructor in this class, I will be able to talk about what I learned and why BVU creates so many programs emphasizing travel for students and faculty.”