October 29, 2013 –The U.S. Department of State recently announced that the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board selected Fort Valley State University temporary professor of behavioral sciences, Dr. Jerry B. Daniel, as a Fulbright Specialist Project. During the month of October, Daniel was a visiting professor at Volga Region State University of Service, the largest center for education, science and technology in Russia. There, he served as a consultant to Russian students and faculty regarding social work training, policy development and analysis, behavioral and social research, and clinical and community-based practices within the U.S. The Fulbright specialist is also a 1994 FVSU alum.
“It’s a very big deal, only because you don’t normally see people of African descent come to teach in a country that was once part of the Soviet Union,” said Daniel
Daniel’s career in criminal justice, social work and the legal profession is extensive. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mercer University; a master’s degree in counseling psychology from FVSU; a master’s degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University, a master’s of public health from the University of Pittsburgh. He also earned a doctorate of philosophy in social work, research and policy analysis from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia.
Daniel explained that the trip was a dream come true. While living in public housing within the Athens Housing Authority, Daniel made a list of things he wanted to accomplish to help people. Traveling internationally was one of those goals.
“I just had an aspiration to do something on an international basis and decided to apply,” Daniel said. “One day, I was contacted by the Fulbright Commission, and the Russians selected me to come to their country.”
When applying for the Fulbright Specialist program, Daniel believed an African nation would select him to teach social work courses, but was surprised when Russia chose him instead. The temporary professor stated that the trip has special meaning for him, since African-American activist, historian and sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois made a similar trip to the former communist country. Du Bois was the first African-American sociologist to teach in Russian universities.
“I’m happy to follow in his footsteps all these years later, so this trip has special significance for me,” said Daniel. “Social work is still a new profession in Russia, and has only been around since the 1990s since the fall of the Soviet Union, when communism fell and capitalism rose. In a capitalist economy, you will sometimes have a huge underclass, and that’s what happened in Russia.”
Daniel said that he taught Russians the basics of social work, and how the profession of social work are conducted within the United States. He stated that his instruction provided a special emphasis on mental health practices within minority communities. The professor also provided some background information on the university and community relationships within America, with a focus upon social, economic and health care issues.
“Some universities have partnered with the community to embrace a communiversityapproach,” said Daniel.
For more information, contact the Department of Behavioral Sciences at (478) 825-6232.
Christina D. Milton,writer
Fort Valley State University
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