Polk County Itemizer-Observer
By Emily Mentzer
December 18th, 2013
MONMOUTH — Staff at Western Oregon University want your unused bicycles for their Visiting Scholar Program.
The program is an exchange between Western and other universities around the world, said Sarah Nagel, international student adviser.
“While they are here, they’re treated as faculty,” she said. “Most of them are professors at their home university.”
University employees try to help them as much as possible when it comes to finding housing close to campus, but these visiting scholars don’t have a car and can find getting around difficult, Nagel said.
“Sometimes they’re not as close to the university as we’d like,” she added. “Bicycles would be a good fit.”
Bikes also would allow them to feel free to explore the area.
“They wouldn’t feel so helpless,” Nagel said.
Western averages 15 visiting scholars a year through the program, with the majority of those coming from China. They may spend three months to five years at WOU working on research, teaching classes or attending lectures, she said.
Often the research they do is in the classroom rather than hitting the books, Nagel said. Visiting scholars may look at the differences between education in China versus in America, in addition to doing research in their respective fields.
“They observe how professors teach differently and how students act in the classroom differently,” Nagel said. “There’s not a lot of room for different opinions in China.”
Whereas in America, according to exit reports visiting scholars write before they return to China, education is more discussion based, she said.
Once they return to their home university, Nagel said scholars may continue research or write for journals.
Visiting scholars next term will specialize in math, physics, linguistics and educational technology, to name a few.
One Chinese scholar will teach a business class in Chinese, which has some of the international students excited, Nagel said.
But before they get here, Nagel would like to have a few bikes for them, she said.
“As a traveler myself, when someone shows me hospitality, I want to return home and tell people about my positive experience,” Nagel said. “Helping them out, providing bicycles, it goes a long way. Pay it forward.”
You Can Help
• Donated bikes may be dirty and a little rusty, but need to be working — they do not have anyone who can fix broken bikes. Drop them off at Maaske Hall on the Western Oregon University campus in Monmouth. Look for the international flags flying outside the building south of the Werner University Center. For more information: Sarah Nagel, 503-838-9081.