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Southwestern Professor Receives Fulbright Award

Computer science professor will teach in Ghana during the 2006-2007 academic year

Suzanne Fox Buchele, an associate professor of computer science at Southwestern University, has received a Fulbright award to teach in Africa during the 2006-2007 academic year.

Buchele will teach computer science and mathematics at Ashesi University, a private liberal arts college in Ghana’s capital city of Accra. The university was founded in 1999 by Patrick Awuah, a native of Ghana who earned an engineering degree from Swarthmore College and later became a millionaire working for Microsoft.

In addition to her teaching, Buchele plans to study the divide in technology between developed and developing countries. She hopes to identify ways in which developing countries such as Ghana can more effectively improve their technological and economic presence in the global market.

“The field of computer science holds great promise in developing countries since it is a practical field that can help bridge the digital divide and equip persons with the means to use modern technology to solve their problems,” Buchele said. “I am particularly excited about teaching computer science at the only liberal arts college in Ghana. And, I look forward to learning as much as I can about the culture of Ghana and the place of computer technology in this particular developing country.”

Buchele has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1998. She holds an undergraduate degree in mathematical sciences from Connecticut College and advanced degrees in mathematics (M.A.) and computer science (M.S. and Ph.D.) from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2005-2006, she received the Exemplary Teaching Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Buchele also is one of Southwestern’s first Paideia Professors.

“Many of the things that I have learned as a Paideia Professor I can use while in Ghana,” Buchele said. Southwestern’s Paideia Program helps students integrate classroom learning with experiences outside the classroom, and includes an intercultural experience, along with service learning, leadership and mentored research.

Buchele said the Fulbright experience should make her an even better Paideia Professor.

“Since Paideia Scholars are required to study abroad, teaching abroad for a year will provide an excellent role model to Southwestern students,” she said. “I also will gain insight into a culture that is very different from American culture, and will learn a lot about education, computer technology and economics in a developing country. As a liberal arts educator, these experiences will be invaluable.”

Buchele is the first Southwestern female faculty member to receive a Fulbright Scholar award.

Buchele’s husband, Steve, a United Methodist pastor in Temple, Texas, will accompany her to Ghana, along with their three children - Wesley, Grace and Anna.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is the U.S. government’s flagship academic exchange effort. It was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills.

The program sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year to more than 140 countries. Grantees lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Program participants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.