Wright State University President Susan Edwards, Ph.D., will present Michal Kraszpulski, Ph.D., with the 2022 International Education Award on Nov. 3 at the International Education Week reception.
The International Education Award recognizes the successful efforts of members of the Wright State University community in expanding global awareness and international understanding on campus and in the surrounding communities; developing innovative, internationally focused curriculum; operating education abroad activities; and providing services to international students and scholars.
Kraszpulski, who joined the Wright State faculty in 2007 and is a lecturer of neuroscience, cell biology and physiology and psychology, will be recognized for his work with the Ambassador and Collaborative Online International Learning programs.
Kraszpulski has been intensively engaged in international education for several years and deserves recognition for his efforts, said Debra Steele-Johnson, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychology.
“His interest in international education started in 2015 with the idea of adding the appropriate Ambassador Program to his three-credit Animal Behavior capstone and turning it into a new five-credit,” Steele-Johnson said. “Adding an international study component into an already existing, regular in-class course was quite a novel idea at that time.”
Kraszpulski was instrumental in building the necessary relationship with the University of Gdańsk in Poland and the Gdańsk Zoo to allow Wright State students participating in this new Ambassador Program to take part in cost-free activities at the university’s field stations and at the zoo’s facilities.
The program allowed students to perform the experimental part of the course while also being exposed to the international scientific community, different ideas and ways of thinking. Students also gained valuable experience with a foreign language and a different cultural environment, which helped to prepare them for careers that require a more global perspective.
The Ambassador Program, which was offered from 2016 to 2019, was favorably reviewed by the 36 students who participated. In fact, every student said they would recommend the experience to a friend.
Additionally, four of the students received recognition beyond the program for the scientific reports they wrote based on their observations in Poland. The students were accepted to present their data at national Animal Behavior Conferences in 2018 and 2020 in Bloomington, Indiana. Two other students coauthored a paper that was published in 2021.
Although the Ambassador program was slated to continue beyond 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible. However, Kraszpulski and University of Gdańsk faculty members continued to seek ways to continue their collaboration.
They received a Polish PROM grant from Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej (National Agency for Academic Exchange). Kraszpulski also received a seed grant from the Wright State University Center for International Education to develop a global virtual exchange program.
Kraszpulski developed a Collaborative Online International Learning class in cooperation with the Department of American Studies at the University of Gdańsk. The innovative online course allowed students to participate in an international program in spite of the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Kraszpulski received his master’s degree in biology and animal ecology from the University of Gdansk Poland and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Medical University of Gdańsk.
He is a native Polish speaker and is also fluent in English and Russian. He has served as a member of the International Education Advisory Council.
Wright State will celebrate International Education Week from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Upcoming events will include a Diwali celebration presented by the Indian Student Association, a Halloween party and the Study Abroad/International Education Fair.