Professor Woden Teachout earns Fulbright Scholar

CINCINNATI, OH – Woden Teachout, Ph.D., Union Institute & University Professor of Graduate Studies, Master of Arts Program, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach in the Kyrgyz Republic, located in Central Asia, starting in the fall of 2014. Her project is named “Teaching Critical Thinking and Scholarly Practice: A Methodology for Faculty and Student Development” and will involve teaching academic writing and faculty development. It builds on the Elements of Scholarship class that she and other faculty developed for Union’s MA program.

“I am so honored to be chosen for this prestigious fellowship. It will be the experience of a lifetime,” said Dr. Teachout. “I applied for a teaching rather than a research fellowship because I believe that it is what I can offer as a teacher that would be most useful in Kyrgyzstan. Teaching is my calling.” Other current or former Union Institute & University professors to be awarded this prestigious honor include Dr. Smalley Mike Cook, Dr. Jeremy Cripps, Dr. William J. Evans, Dr. Angela Gilliam, Dr. Linda Gray, Dr. Toni Gregory, Professor Jean Griffith, Professor Kilmer Heighton, Professor Margo Okazawa-Rey, Dr. Mel Silverman, Dr. Ilga B. Svechs, Dr. Woden Teachout, Dr. Chris Voparil, and Dr. Asghar Zomorrodian.

As an emerging democracy, the Kyrgyz Republic offers Dr. Teachout insight into the educational and political culture.

“I have always been interested in the cultural history of democracy, both as a scholar and a citizen. My work in American studies has explored various ways in which citizens have tried to foster democratic cultures, both through formal education and political action. My dissertation examined the hereditary groups of the late 19th century and the popular historical education with which they tried to Americanize immigrants and critique robber baron capitalism. My first book, Capture the Flag, described the political history of American patriotism, as citizens fought bitterly over the flag’s meaning as a way to define national values. My most recent book, Slow Democracy, makes an argument for local democratic engagement as one of the most profound kinds of political education and the best way to reinvigorate American democracy,” said Dr. Teachout.

“This experience gives me a chance to examine my convictions more closely and critically. They seem self-evident in the United States. But how do they translate to a country still emerging from its Soviet legacy? Is there a demonstrable relationship between democracy and an academic culture of critical thinking?

I proposed a teaching fellowship: offering courses in American studies and academic writing, and assisting faculty with curriculum development. An academic year in Kyrgyzstan will allow me insight into Kyrgyz educational and political culture, and, by reflection, the American democratic culture that I study. It will allow me to support the development of American studies, especially in the rural universities where it is a fledgling field.”

Dr. Teachout is taking her family with her. “I am ready to expand my world both professionally and personally. I am eager to share what I know, and also to explore new forms of teaching, new systems of education and new intellectual cultures. At the same time, my family is ready for an adventure. We have built a pastoral life in Vermont on a small homestead where we grow our own vegetables and chickens. Now, with our children approaching their teens, we want to open them up other cultures and other languages, not only as travelers passing through but as contributing members of a community. When I traveled around Scandinavia for six months in my early 20s, it was the work that I did – dishwashing, strawberry picking, housecleaning – that led to my most satisfying relationships.”

About the Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program provides participants chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Grants are available for U.S. citizens to go abroad and for non-U.S. citizens with no U.S. permanent residence to come to the U.S. The Fulbright Program is an important element of the United States’ bilateral relationships with countries around the world. U.S. and foreign governments jointly set priorities for the exchanges.

To learn more about the Fulbright Program, visit this link.

About Union Institute & University
The year 2014 marks a milestone in the history of Union Institute & University. The university is celebrating its 50th year of educating adults who seek academic programs that transform lives and communities. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Union Institute & University offers undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degree programs designed for adults seeking to make a difference in their own lives and within their communities. Since its inception in 1964, the university has offered specialized distance-learning programs that combine online and classroom coursework with high-touch faculty attention, designed for students regardless of where they live and work. Union’s flexible delivery models, combined with its focus on social relevance, distinguish it from the other universities by providing not only online classes, but also brief residencies, face-to-face small classroom settings, and a hybrid model, all emphasizing relevant and transformative coursework taught by more than 300 faculty/scholar-practitioners. Union graduates, including more than a dozen college presidents, leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, members of the United States Congress, and the first female prime minister of Jamaica, promote Union’s legacy of utilizing education to transform lives and communities.

For more information about Union Institute & University, visit or call 1- 800-861-6400.