By Jeff Murphy, November 30, 2015
WARRENSBURG, MO – While a University of Central Missouri administrator prepares to
serve an overseas appointment made possible through a prestigious Fulbright grant,
UCM is making plans to temporarily fill his on-campus duties with help from a nine-year
faculty member who has a diverse background of service to the university.
Joseph Lewandowski, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and dean of The Honors College and International Affairs, has received received a Fulbright Distinguished Chair appointment to serve in the Czech Republic for the spring 2016 semester. Lewandowski will hold the Fulbright Masaryk Distinguished Chair in Social Studies at Masaryk University, the second largest university in the Czech Republic.
Fulbright Distinguished Chairs are the most prestigious appointment awarded by the U.S. Department of State. Out of approximately 800 Fulbright grants awarded annually, only 40 are for Distinguished Chairs at 22 universities across the globe. A presidentially appointed 12-member board selects faculty for Chairs, which are reserved for “eminent scholars with substantial experience and publications in their respective fields.”
Masaryk University has more than 42,000 students, and is widely recognized for its research programs. It is located in the city of Brno, in the southern part of the country, near the Czech border with Austria and Slovakia. Lewandowski will serve as a lecturer, and will mentor doctoral students, in addition to collaborating with Czech scholars and exploring avenues for future UCM-Masaryk University student and faculty exchanges. He also will continue to pursue his research on urban cultures.
In announcing Lewandowski’s Fulbright appointment to his campus colleagues, Deborah Curtis, provost-chief learning officer, noted, “This is quite an honor for Dr. Lewandowski, and his UCM family is extremely proud of this accomplishment. At its core, the Fulbright program seeks to enhance mutual understanding amongst the peoples of the world. We are confident that Dr. Lewandowski will serve in this important role with poise and distinction.”
Lewandowski joined UCM as a faculty member in 1998. He has been a prolific researcher and lecturer, having published and lectured widely in the areas of social capital theory, urban studies, and the philosophy of sport.
This is the third highest-ranking Fulbright appointment for Lewandowski, who was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at Charles University (Czech Republic) in 2005-2006, and a Fulbright Graduate Fellow at the Free University Berlin (Germany) in 1997-1998.
While Lewandowski is engaged in his Fulbright responsibilities, the provost has named Scott Lankford, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, to serve as the interim dean of The Honors College and International Affairs.
Lankford received his doctorate in 2004 from University of California-Davis and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture before joining UCM in fall 2006. During his tenure on campus, he has served as an assistant, and now associate professor of biology, and served as the graduate coordinator for his department. He has been involved in various committee work, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Graduate Council, and University Research Council. He also was a member of one of three teams charged with helping to develop the new Strategic Resource Allocation Model.
Lankford has remained active in student-centered research while at UCM as evidenced by his record of service as the primary undergraduate advisor on 12 completed Honors College research projects and two McNair Scholars research projects. He is active in graduate research, having served on eight completed master’s thesis committees, and serving as chair and primary advisor for five of those students.
The seasoned UCM educator is the co-leader of an international study tour that provides an opportunity for UCM students to complete research projects they design on a living back-reef, marine community off the coast of San Pedro, Belize. In addition to such projects and his work on campus, Lankford is active in professional organizations. This includes serving as secretary for the Missouri Division of the American Psychological Society, and chair of a local communities Lake-Use Committee.