Since 1994, Eastern Washington University and international partner, Mukogawa Women’s University in Nishinomiya, Japan, have exchanged professors for one week of teaching. Unfortunately, the 2020 exchange was postponed due to COVID-19, however, EWU has rescheduled the trip and moved forward with the 2021 and 2022 nominations.

Neal and Helen Fosseen, former mayor and first lady of Spokane, and Chancellor Akira Kusaka of the Mukogawa Women’s University (MWU) established the Fosseen-Kusaka Distinguished Professorship Endowment. The program highlights the priority EWU and its Japanese counterparts place on fostering international exchange and strengthening cultural ties. During the annual exchange, the chosen professors offer lectures or performances on campus and in the surrounding community in order to expand the influence of the exchange program.

The EWU Distinguished Professorship Exchange Winners

Sean Agriss
Joseph Lenti
Gina Mikel Petrie

Sean Agriss, an associate professor of English at Eastern, was originally scheduled to travel to Nishinomiya in May 2020. After the pandemic forced EWU and MWU to cancel all travel, Agriss’ trip was rescheduled for spring 2021. He plans to provide lectures in teaching methods for literature, teaching methods for composition and writing, cultural studies and social justice in education, and English language learning in public education. Agriss is also an avid golfer and hopes to be able to visit one of Japan’s many golf courses while he is there.

Joseph Lenti, an associate professor of history, was awarded the fall 2021 position in the exchange program. Lenti will deliver research lectures that historicize episodes of informal settlement in twentieth century Latin America, while also shedding light on current trends that see shantytowns, tent-cities, and other squatter communities pop up around the world. Through focused analyses on the emergence of shantytowns and political co-optation in Mexico, and the impact of land conservation on rural displacement and squatting in Costa Rica, Lenti hopes to spark discussions about how historical antecedents may help us understand, and perhaps even help mitigate, the challenges of the world’s most-marginalized places today.

The final upcoming position was awarded to Gina Mikel Petrie, program coordinator and professor of English as a second language at EWU. She has worked in a wide variety of environments with English language learners throughout her career. During her exchange in Spring 2022, Petrie plans to lecture in teaching English across the disciplines, language use, not language practice, and what it means for us when we desire language.

Mukogawa Women’s University Delegate

Masanobu Horie came to EWU as the MWU delegate in fall 2018 and will return in fall 2020. Horie serves as the Director of the International Center at MWU. He has a storied career, having served in the U.N. World Food Program in such places as Afghanistan, Yemen, Darfur and West Timor. During his 2018 trip to EWU, he lectured on ways the international community should tackle human insecurities, the emergence of a “new” challenge in Japan, “ethnic homogeneity” vs accepting new citizens, and the importance of creating a stable international community through the eyes of ordinary citizens.

EWU is proud to offer this unique opportunity in association with MWU and the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, an MWU branch campus in Spokane. The Fosseen-Kusaka Exchange at EWU is facilitated by the School of Global Learning. Please visit their website for more information on this exchange program and other programs available for faculty and students at Eastern.