Dr. Cassie Falke on the top of Lovstakken, one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen, Norway. The Falke family has been climbing a different peak every weekend while in Norway. PHOTO: Damon Falke
Right now ETBU has a one of its own in Norway. What is Associate Professor of English Dr. Cassie Falke doing in Norway? Back in July, she was named a Fulbright Scholar and is spending a whole year in Norway, teaching and doing research. Dr. Falke is on her sabbatical and her husband, Damon, and their two boys were able to go Norway with her.
Just recently, she sent word via email to ETBU Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lawrence Ressler an update of what she is experiencing at the at the University of Bergen. The University of Bergen is located in the heart of the city and has about 14,500 students enrolled, and 3,200 faculty and staff.
She writes: “All is well here. I am teaching three seminars (two for undergrads and one for masters students) and sharing a lecture course with three Norwegian professors. The department here has received me warmly, and teaching has gotten off to a good start. The students here only take exams once, or maybe twice a semester and receive no formal evaluation beyond those exams, so my time in the office generally goes to preparing for classes and research.”
“I had a backup plan in case I did not receive the Fulbright. That plan was to write about the ways that reading literature strengthens the mental habits of attention, empathy and hope – the same mental habits we use to love God and neighbor. My proposal to present an excerpt of this writing at the Modern Language Association Convention in Chicago was accepted, so I am getting to work on this project some while I am here as well. This is the largest literature conference in the world, with thousands of people attending (not my session, but the conference), so I am honored to be working toward that. I feel especially honored to be expounding on the work of a Christian philosopher in such a large forum.”
“As a family, we are enjoying Bergen, Norway tremendously. The city is ringed round with seven mountains and green on every side except at the harbor, where the city opens right onto the sea and fjord land. We have climbed to a different peak every weekend we have been here. Our oldest boy, spent yesterday afternoon memorizing Viking poetry in a museum. Our littles spent it picking currants in our backyard with his Papa. Needless to say, they like Norway.”
“I miss my students, but so far my sabbatical is providing just what a sabbatical is designed to provide: a sabbath from my regular teaching and administration there and an opportunity to refine competencies that will help me continue growing as a professor.”
The Fulbright Scholar Program sends 800 scholars and professionals abroad each year to more than 150 countries. ETBU is proud of Dr. Falke and what she is experiencing as a Fulbright Scholar. The ETBU family is praying for God’s blessings upon her and her family as they are away from East Texas.