Dr. Lisanne Winslow , professor of biology, and Dr. Sally Harris, professor of English, are the first University of Northwestern faculty members ever to be awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Awards for Research and Lecturing overseas. And they live only about four blocks from each other in Bayport, Minn. (pop. 3,162).
So what’s in the water in Bayport that produces two faculty Fulbright Scholars in one year? Someone else will have to research that. Because Winslow’s question is to find what’s in the ocean’s water.
Winslow and her family—husband John, and daughters Arianna, nine, and Sophia, six—will be spending spring semester 2009 at the Misaki Marine Biological Station in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan to help answer that question. She’ll also be lecturing to graduate students at the University of Tokyo’s School of Science about the current crisis facing world ocean ecosystems due to global warming and pollution.
Winslow’s 20 years of research have demonstrated that the lowly sea urchin functions like the proverbial “canary in a coal mine,” because its immune cells are highly sensitive to abnormal temperature changes and environmental toxins. The Japanese, with their extensive global fisheries market, are very interested in monitoring the ocean’s health and learning about how sea urchins can help them do it.
Northwestern’s 120-gallon saltwater aquarium in Nazareth 2031 is where Winslow and her students study sea urchins, but Dr. Sally Harris’ office has no such mesmerizing objects—just books and more books. That’s because Harris, in applied linguistics, researches words.
Her Fulbright Scholar award is one of two available for Tanzania, Africa, this year and will send her (accompanied by her husband, the Rev. Paul Harris) to Iringa University College (IUCO)/Tumaini University (Tumaini means “hope” in Swahili) in the southcentral highlands of Tanzania for 10 months beginning in September. With expertise in English as a Second Language Harris will record and enter first-year law lectures into a database, create a concordance of the results, and use that to help new law students learn which vocabulary occurs most frequently in their courses in constitutional, criminal, family and contractual law. She will also create the curriculum for and teach IUCO’s first legal writing course.
In Tanzania, one of the world’s poorest countries, resources, especially textbooks, are scarce. Students must learn almost everything through lectures, but that presupposes that they accurately comprehend what they are hearing. All university courses are taught in English, which is not the students’ native language, so the tools of an ESL specialist can help them become more efficient.