Each year, the Fulbright Scholar Program chooses some of the country’s top professors and professionals to travel overseas and share their expertise with foreign students.

It’s kind of like study abroad for grown-ups.

This year, two West Virginia University professors were among the American grantees: psychology professor Daniel McNeil and theater professor Jay Malarcher.

McNeil, who serves as the Eberly Professor of Outstanding Public Service and an associate professor of psychology, as well as a clinical professor in the School of Dentistry, will be conducting cultural research at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He begins his work in January.

It will not be McNeil’s first time traveling abroad. He also conducted sabbatical work at the University of Sydney in Australia, which included work with the Aboriginals.

McNeil holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary psychology and master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology.

Malarcher has been teaching in the College of Creative Arts’ Division of Theatre and Dance since 1999. He supervises the Bachelor of Arts program in theater studies and serves as the division’s dramaturg.

Malarcher has spent much of his career studying comedy. He’s published a book on the subject – “The Classically American Comedy of Larry Gelbart” – and is lecturing on American comedy at University of Zagreb, Croatia, through May. Though he’s aware comedy may seem like a trivial subject for scholarship, he’s determined to elevate its stature, both in Croatia and when he returns to Morgantown this summer.

“Civilization depends on our ability to improve society and the people in it, whether it be something as seemingly insignificant as dating rituals (romantic comedy) or the more important subject of elected officials (political satire),” Malarcher said. “Comedy has for too long been relegated, as Woody Allen pointed out, to the “children’s table” in our culture. It is high time that we celebrate its vital importance in shaping better citizens, policies, and traditions.”

By April Johnston
Senior Writer
WVU News and Information Services

-WVU-

12/22/09
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