Fulbright Scholarship Will Send English Professor to Hong Kong

A Nebraska Wesleyan University English professor has won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Hong Kong next year.

James Shea, assistant professor of English, will spend the 2013-2014 academic year teaching at Hong Kong Baptist University as a Visiting Fulbright Scholar.

Shea, a published poet whose second collection of poetry is imminent, was drawn to Hong Kong Baptist University when it began its first-ever bilingual bachelor of arts creative writing program last year.

“As far as I know it’s the first bilingual B.A. in creative writing offered in the Chinese-speaking world, and perhaps the first of its kind in East Asia,” he said. “Hong Kong universities have a long history of offering individual writing courses, but they have only just begun to consider creative writing as a formal academic discipline.”

Apart from helping to make history, Shea is excited to speak with other instructors about their teaching methods, to explore the city and make connections, and to improve his own poetry by immersing himself in Cantonese and Mandarin.

“I will learn to say things simply, as if for the first time,” he said, “and this should help me as I write and revise poems for my next poetry collection.”

Nearly 10 years ago Shea spent a year and a half studying at Utsunomiya National University near Tokyo, thanks to a Japanese government fellowship. While studying, Shea also worked on his first book, and translated many of Ozaki Hōsai’s free-verse haikus.

At Hong Kong Baptist University, Shea will be a part of the university’s new Department of Humanities and Creative Writing and teach a mixed-genre writing course and a poetry workshop.

“English is the language of the academy in Hong Kong, so I’ll teach my courses in English, and I’ll have a mix of Hong Kong, mainland Chinese, and international students in my classes,” he said.

Shea is the third NWU professor in three years to win a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. Barbara Cornelius, head of library technology and associate professor of library science, spent part of the 2012-2013 academic year conducting research in Nepal and Bangladesh thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship. A Fulbright Scholarship also sent Megan Winchell, associate professor of history, to Estonia during the 2011-2012 academic year.

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NWU English professor James Shea will teach in Hong Kong thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship.