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KSC Professor Heads to Czech Republic to Teach

KEENE, N.H. 2/20/02 - Language barrier aside, Jo Beth Mullens, associate professor of geography at Keene State College, said she is excited by the prospect of spending four months teaching as a Fulbright Scholar in the Czech Republic.

Mullens left this month for Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, where she will teach two environmental science courses at Masarykova University.

The experience will be as much a step into the unknown for Mullen’s students as it is for her. “Environmental science is an emerging field in the former Soviet bloc countries,” Mullens explained. “The Czech Republic is struggling to develop environmental policy, so it will be interesting to see the students’ responses to the ideas I’m going to teach.”

Mullens, an expert in water resource management, will teach “International Water Issues” and “Environmental Issues and Global Sustainability.” Most of her students, she said, will be studying engineering, geography, and social sciences. Mullens also expects that her students will have a better grasp of English than she does of Czech. “I’m going to take a Czech language course,” she said, “but I think I’ll have better luck trying to teach with as basic English as possible.”

The day-to-day living in Brno will be a little different to Mullen’s accustomed village lifestyle in Putney, Vt. Brno, which has a population of 400,000, is a political, cultural, and economic center.

The trip to Brno is the latest of many overseas experiences for Mullens. She has also traveled to China, Morocco, Belize, and Mexico.

The school year at Masarykova University begins on Feb. 25. Mullens will return to Keene in May.

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