Two faculty members chosen for Fulbright Fellowships in Russia


Two more faculty members at Fairfield University, Dr. David McFadden and Dr. Elia Chepaitis, were awarded Fulbright Fellowships to teach and conduct research in Russia.

Dr. McFadden will teach courses on 20th century U.S. history and Russian-American relations at Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg. He will also continue research for his forthcoming publication of "The Politics of Relief: Quakers in Soviet Russia, 1917-1931."

Dr. McFadden, an associate professor of history, is also director of the University's Russian and East European Studies Program and was instrumental in developing exchanges of students and faculty with the Herzen University.

The other Fulbright was awarded to Dr. Elia Chepaitis who will teach international business and information systems at Taganrog in south Russia near the Black Sea from January to June 1998. She previously received Fulbright grants for research and teaching in Siberia and in Morocco. An associate professor of information systems in the School of Business, Dr. Chepaitis will help the Russians implement effective information systems for marketing, accounting and management.

The Fulbright Fellowships were created by Congress to foster understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges and are recognized as one of the U.S.'s most prestigious programs for overseas research. As a result of the grants to the faculty, Fairfield students will gain the latest research in the field and the encouragement to apply for international study.

Other recent Fulbright Fellowships awarded to Fairfield faculty enabled them to study or teach in countries around the world including Hungary, India and Suriname.

The Fulbright awarded to Dr. McFadden covers six months beginning in January and will enable him to research Russian archives. He is focusing on the interaction of religion, philanthropy, diplomacy and ideology that existed in the relations between Russia and the United States in the 1920s. He is studying the experience of British and American Quaker relief workers in Soviet Russia with emphasis on food relief, aid and reconstruction "as a lens through which to view Soviet-Western relations during the 1920s."

As a result of his previous research, one chapter of his forthcoming book was published in the spring issue of "Quaker History" and he has delivered seven scholarly papers on different aspects of his study at professional conferences. Dr. McFadden is also the author of "Alternative Paths: Soviets and Americans 1917-1920" published by Oxford University Press.

His teaching at Herzen University is expected to assist in the recruiting of Russian students to come to Fairfield and Fairfield students to go to Russia as well as identify new ways to enhance Fairfield's Russian Studies program.

For Dr. Chepaitis, traveling to south Russia will be dramatically different from her 1994 Fulbright in Siberia where the winter days had only four to five hours of daylight. "It's a different focus, a different climate and a different level of economic development for Russia because it is changing so very much," Dr. Chepaitis explained of her new venture.

Four years ago, she said, information technology and international business were just being introduced. Now the businesses are there and they need to implement information systems if they hope to be competitive.

"The theme of what I have been trying to do in Russia over the last four years is to move people along toward information industries. They have focused on quantity since the Soviet era and are very interested in founding computer industries, but value and quality are what guarantee global competitiveness."

With products flooding the market from countries such as Japan, Taiwan and Sweden, Russian businesses are having difficulty competing even at home. If they are to succeed, Dr. Chepaitis says, they need to implement effective information systems for functions such as marketing, accounting and management.

The proliferation of e-mail has enabled Dr. Chepaitis to promote these concepts to Russian colleagues in both business and academic life. E-mail has made a tremendous difference in degree and speed of communication, she noted. "In 1991, I was doing business with Telex; in 1994 via fax and now e-mail is online, instantaneous and very inexpensive. It's great."

Dr. Chepaitis' most recent research has focused on ethical problems with information and during her stay in Taganrog she will continue to make good use of her e-mail as she relays her findings on ethics and computer systems to Marshall Goldman at the Harvard Center for Russian Studies and Alan Alter, editor of Computer World magazine.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 1, 1997