UT faculty named Fulbright scholars


An expert in forestry management and a specialist in Deaf education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have been named as Fulbright Scholars for the 2022–23 academic year.

The Fulbright Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, gives awards to about 1,200 scholars from across the country every year. 

The grants allow recipients to teach, research, or complete professional projects abroad. College and university faculty and administrators are eligible, as are professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, and independent scholars. 

One of the newly named Fulbright recipients from UTK is Neelam Chandra Poudyal, an associate professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, according to a press release issued by UTK officials. 

Neelam Chandra Poudyal

He will visit the Institute of Forestry on the Pokhara Campus of Tribhuvan University in Nepal to collaborate with the institute’s faculty in wildlife and protected area management. He will also conduct research on sustaining the coexistence of humans and wildlife in the fringe areas of Nepal’s national parks—work that can be applied to other protected areas.

“Human–wildlife conflict is an enduring issue for biodiversity conservation around the world,” said Poudyal. “By evaluating and disseminating knowledge about the decades-long experience of Nepal’s unique park revenue sharing program, which is not yet widely known in other countries, I expect to generate new knowledge from Nepal’s distinctive approach to inform human–wildlife conflict management around the world.”

Poudyal believes Nepal is uniquely suited for this research because the program has been implemented across its 13 national parks, which offer an ideal data set for analysis. Poudyal also plans to develop workshops geared toward training Institute of Forestry students how to write successful research grants and publish their work in international peer-reviewed journals.

UT’s other freshly minted Fulbright Scholar is Kimberly Wolbers, a professor of theory and practice in teacher education.

Wolbers will spend 10 months at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. The center, recognized as one of Africa’s leading institutions for Deaf studies, fosters equal opportunities through a teacher education program that is multilingual, multicultural, and equity minded.

“I have an amazing opportunity to continue to grow as a researcher and educator who works in partnership with the Deaf community to advocate for accessible and equitable education for Deaf children,” said Wolbers.

Kimberly Wolbers

The center’s Deaf education programs have doubled in size over the past five years, and community outreach efforts span 46 schools for the Deaf across South Africa. Its faculty has invited Wolbers’s involvement with advising postgraduate students’ research, offering professional development to community schools, and teaching two courses on writing and language instruction for Deaf students.

Published on May 24, 2022.