This fall, Dr. William Naugle, Clarion University’s English-as-a-second-language coordinator, will be experiencing the culture of Jordan as a Fulbright Scholar.
He joins a long list of Clarion Fulbright Scholars, most recently, Dr. Jocelyn Smerker, associate professor of Education (Ecuador, 2018-2019) and Dr. Yasser Ayed, professor of Geoscience (Egypt, 2018-2019). Jacob Beckey, ('18), received the highly competitive Fulbright Student award for the United Kingdom, last year, to pursue graduate work at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Naugle will be teaching courses in Applied Linguistics and Communication in the Department of English and Translation at University of Petra in Amman, Jordan.
As the Fulbright Program Advisor at Clarion, Naugle already knew the process to becoming a Fulbright Scholar would be competitive. However, Naugle was encouraged to put his hat in the ring because he was already familiar with the area after having spent time in Israel and the West Bank as an English Language Specialist for the U.S. Department of State.
"I'm already familiar with the area and I already love the area," Naugle said.
Naugle applied in August 2018 for the position, which will began this month. The application first undergoes a U.S. national review and then, if it is successful, the host country reviews the application.
In November 2018, his application passed the U.S. review, and in February 2019, he received word that his application passed the Jordanian review — both of these reviews were early in the application cycle, as some candidates may not receive notification for up to a year.
"I'm excited to go," Naugle said.
When Naugle previously spent time in the region, he felt very welcome. He recalled a warm reception, while standing in line at a spice shop in the West Bank. The residents standing in line were very curious about him and were eager to tell him how much they loved Americans.
"I think it's very easy to be led to assumptions about people," Naugle said referring to media attention about unrest in the area.
The last time he was in the area, he received an impromptu invitation to a weekend family gathering. In the Middle East, the workweek runs from Sunday through Thursday. Friday begins the weekend and Saturday is the Sabbath. Families tend to enjoy communal meals on Saturdays and Sundays and Naugle found himself at such an occasion.
"I felt like I was in a time warp and taken back to my childhood," Naugle said of the atmosphere around the big family dinner.
While he will be speaking English in his classes, Naugle said he is trying to learn Arabic noting that residents are thrilled with any efforts to speak their language.
The language isn't the only adjustment he'll have. He will be juggling his responsibilities in the Office of International Programs, promoting international programming, guiding students on study abroad opportunities, and collaborating with colleagues and students around the world on his intercultural communication videoconferencing project, the C3 Model.
He is unsure how long his Fulbright experience will last since scheduling is more relaxed in the Middle East and because funding and political factors in that country could always influence the length of his stay.
Clarion University has had many Fulbright Scholar recipients over the past several decades. Naugle strongly encourages others to continue the Clarion tradition and to apply for a Fulbright, as there are many awards, of varying lengths, available throughout the world.