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Joslin teaches in Egypt through Fulbright exchange

March 14, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University professor of English has just returned from a university in Egypt, where she has been teaching and acting as a curriculum adviser through the U.S. Fulbright senior specialist program.

Dr. Katherine Joslin, an authority on social reformer and peace activist Jane Addams, visited Minoufiya University, where she presented lectures to undergraduate and graduate students in American civilization and literature and comparative literature. She also conducted a needs assessment of the American literature curriculum and advised faculty on methods for enhancing the content of American literature and culture courses taught at the university.

It was Joslin's first trip to Egypt. Minoufiya University is a regional, state-funded school in the "delta region" about 65 kilometers north of Cairo and has upward of 60,000 students, who pay about $50 a year for tuition. Joslin lectured to classes of hundreds of students in the Arts College. Some classes, especially those in the Education College, have students numbering in the thousands.

"The students at Minoufiya were wonderfully friendly and eager to read and talk about American literature, which is a new field of study for them," Joslin says. "They had lots of questions about the current presidential campaign in the United States and wanted to understand the process. They often asked, too, about students at WMU and how they view Egyptians. Most of them would like to travel to the United States and are open and generous to Americans who are visiting Egypt."

Joslin also attended American studies seminars and gave a lecture on Addams at Misr International University, during which she discussed Addams' visit to Egypt in 1913. She consulted with faculty who would like to develop an American studies graduate certificate at Minoufiya.

"This was an astonishing trip for me, full of vivid experiences, good food and generous and kind people," Joslin says. "Everyone should come to Egypt."

That sentiment was embraced by three other WMU faculty members who joined her in Egypt during her stay. Her husband, Dr. Thomas Bailey, a professor of English and environmental studies and WMU ombudsman; Dr. Irma Lopez, professor of Spanish; and Dr. J. Kevin Corder, chair of the political science department, conducted a seminar on the American election in the Education College at Minoufiya.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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