Judson University Professors Varghese and Rani Mathai both Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Scholar Grants
(Elgin, IL - April 12, 2012) Judson University is excited to announce that two of its professors, Dr. Varghese Mathai and Dr. Rani Mathai have each been awarded Fulbright Scholar grants for the 2012-13 academic year.
This is a remarkable occurrence in more than one respect. Varghese and Rani are spouses, and though both are Fulbright awardees of the 2012-13 application year and grantees for the same country (India) and for the same city (Delhi), they are to fulfill their grant terms at two separate institutions and their terms differ in length.
This accomplishment is a milestone for Judson as it marks the first time that any faculty have earned this distinction while currently employed at Judson.
“It is extremely rare for two members of the same family to be awarded this highly competitive distinction at the same time,” notes Judson’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dale Simmons. “It is a testament to their extraordinary talents and yet another firm indicator of the outstanding faculty we continue to attract to our riverside campus.”
Dr. Varghese Mathai, the Benjamin P. Browne Chair of Communications at Judson University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and conduct research at St. Stephen's College in New Delhi, India during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Dr. Mathai has been invited to teach British Poetry in the Honors Program at St. Stephen's College, India's topmost liberal arts college. His research will be in the studies of K V Simon, a Christian poet of colonial India who has also made history as a major prose writer, composer, musician, religious reformer, Bible commentator, polemicist, and the founding father of the country's Brethren Movement.
"Needless to say, I am honored to be chosen for this award," says Varghese. "Who ever knew that I would gear up for my grant destination with my colleague and spouse Rani, who also has won the Fulbright on her own? We have had the rare joy of congratulating each other on it."
Dr. Rani Mathai, Professor of Science Education at Judson University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in Delhi, India during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Mathai has been invited by IGNOU at their Delhi campus to design middle and secondary Science Education curricula for distance learning and to teach Science Education courses at the IGNOU centers.
“These are grants with great purposes. We are deeply touched by the Lord's mercies in moving us toward them, together,” says Rani. “The grant will help us to offer further dedicated service in curriculum design and in-service training to IGNOU’s Northeast Indian centers. A team of Judson faculty had visited this very region in 2010 on a training tour.”
Both Varghese and Rani earned their undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kerala University in Trivandrum, India. Varghese went on to earn his Master of Philosophy from Osmania University of Hyderabad, India, and later earned his Ph.D. from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Rani earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Each of them holds more than 20 years of teaching experience in higher education at institutions throughout the United States. Before joining Judson in 2000, Varghese served on the English faculties of the University of St. Thomas and Bethel University, both in Minnesota. Likewise, Rani also taught full time at Wheaton College and Bethel University before coming to Judson in 2005. Varghese is still connected to the Twin Cities as a fellow of the MacLaurin Institute, a Christian Studies and Faculty Development Center at the University of Minnesota.
Varghese and Rani are two of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-13.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.
Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Located in Elgin, Ill., since 1963, Judson University offers a Christian, liberal arts and sciences education through its Bachelor of Arts degrees for more than 60 majors/minors, graduate programs, online, certification and accelerated adult degree programs. To learn how you can prepare for a successful career and experience Judson’s Christian community, visit JudsonU.edu.