Roanoke College

Roanoke College Awarded Fulbright Scholar

SALEM, Va.─Roanoke College has been awarded its second Fulbright Scholar in three years. The Fulbright Visiting Specialist, Dr. Omer Faruk Genckaya, will be on campus for six weeks starting September 1, 2005. Genckaya is currently an assistant professor in the department of political science at Bilkent University in the Republic of Turkey, where he teaches courses in Turkish Political Development and Voting Behavior in Turkey.

Genckaya received his bachelor of arts degree in politics and administration from Ankara University, and both his master's and doctorate degrees in political science from Bogazici University in Istanbul. While at Roanoke College he will participate in classroom visits, public lectures, and make a variety of appearances in Salem and Roanoke.

The theme of Genckaya's Fulbright stay at Roanoke is "Democracy in Muslim States." As a visiting professor at Roanoke College, he will be linked to the public affairs, sociology and religion departments. His classroom offerings will include a broad range of topics, such as Turkey as a historic crossroads to Europe; Christian Communities in a secular Muslim state; and Political Islam. Genckaya will give a "Fulbright Lecture" at the beginning of the Fall term. During his Fulbright tenure, he also plans to study non-profit organizations and their impact on democracy.

Genckaya is also expected to hold a half-day workshop on how to teach Middle Eastern and Islamic issues. The workshop will feature a presentation on Muslim cultures, traditions, art, music, and scholarship, group discussions on the pedagogies of teaching the Middle East; and a presentation on current issues from the Muslim perspective.

Both Roanoke College and Dr. Genckaya have high expectations for this academic exchange. Genckaya is interested in broadening his knowledge and experiences about the interests, expectations, and capabilities of American students with respect to the Middle East, Turkey and the Muslim world. He hopes this program will further promote mutual understanding between our respective societies. He also plans to contribute to the development of a global curriculum to be offered in the years to come, and to broaden the conversation about world affairs to include members of the larger community. Roanoke College offers courses in Islam and the Middle East and Genckaya will help faculty and staff become more aware of contemporary issues in the region. Roanoke hopes to build a widening of inter-institutional partnerships in the developing world, increased faculty participation in research and exchanges, new destinations for faculty-led short term programs, and an infusion of Middle Eastern and Islamic topics in the general education curriculum.

This is not Genckaya's first experience with the Fulbright program. He was also a Fulbright Visiting Specialist at Duke University in 2001. While at Duke, he gave lectures for students and the public on Islam, democracy, and the military's role in modern Turkish politics. Genckaya was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999 from Bilkent University.

Roanoke will welcome another Islamic scholar to the faculty in the fall. Professor Caner Dagli, is an Islamic scholar with expertise in the history of Islam in Turkey. He is spending this year doing research in Istanbul and translating texts into English. Dagli receives his Ph.D. from Princeton this spring. Having two Turkish scholars on campus at the same time will strengthen the college's commitment to international education and its recent focus on the middle east. Roanoke's first Fulbright Scholar in Residence, Dr. Mohamed El Mansour of Morocco, taught in the history department during the 2003-04 academic year.

Roanoke College, the country's second oldest Lutheran-related college, is an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college. Roanoke is one of just 270 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor societies. Roanoke College is listed in U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges Guide as a national liberal arts college. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the mid-Atlantic." Roanoke's 1,850 students represent 41 states across the U.S. and 25 foreign countries. Roanoke College offers three degrees: bachelor of business administration, bachelor of arts and bachelor of science.

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.