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Faces of New Paltz

Michael Yohannes
Laura Dull
Ashley Williamson
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Faces of New Paltz

The goal of teaching, according to Professor Laura Dull, is to introduce students to different perspectives.

In teaching the next generation of social studies teachers, Dull, an assistant professor of secondary education, draws on her experiences living and working in different countries.

“I’m always challenging my students,” she said. “When they become teachers they should welcome dissent and be open to different opinions.”

In mid-January, Dull left New Paltz for a six-month teaching and researching sojourn in Varanje, Serbia, for which she received a Fulbright Scholar Award. Dull is one of 13 New Paltz professors to receive the award in the last 22 years.

At the University of Nis College of Pedagogy for primary school teachers in southern Serbia, Dull will interview and observe local teachers. Her objective is to explore the meanings of modernity and development for teachers and citizens at a time when the nation is striving toward integration into a capitalist economy.

Her goal is to not only teach them about Western education, but to learn about the educational systems in different cultures. Dull is looking forward to the opportunity to teach in a different setting. When she returns to New Paltz, she plans to bring back and implement the different methods she learns about at the University of Nis College.

In addition to completing the fall 2006 semester at New Paltz, Dull prepared for her trip by purchasing materials and books, as well as working on lectures and workshops. She brushed up on her language skills in May when she took a course at the University of Novi Sad in northern Serbia.

Dull began traveling when she was 18, when she took a trip to Egypt and Greece with her aunt and uncle. She continued to explore her love of learning in college by spending a year in Austria, Vienna, and a three-week study group in the Soviet Union. As a Ph.D. candidate in international education, Dull traveled to Ghana, Africa, for a year. Her book, “Disciplined Development: Teachers and Reform in Ghana,” published in 2006, was based on her experiences teaching and studying in Ghana. 

In all directions: Dull’s Old Main Building office is decorated with maps: an ancient map, one of the world in 1492 and one of Serbia using Cyrillic (alphabet used for east and south Slavic languages including Serbia) letters.