Fulbright Program Approves Senior Specialist for American University of Mongolia


Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia–June 28, 2013 

The American University of Mongolia (AUM) is pleased to announce that its project proposal and request to the Fulbright Program for a Senior Specialist was approved for funding. Dr. Mark Usher, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at the University of Vermont (UVM), was selected as the Fulbright Senior Specialist to come to Mongolia this summer and design AUM’s Freshman Seminar. The project will have a crucial role to play in the successful launch of the AUM, as the curriculum he designs will set the tone for AUM’s liberal arts educational approach and for the quality of its offerings.


Professor Usher earned his Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Chicago and is an alumnus of UVM (B.A. in Greek and Latin). His research interests include orality studies, Near Eastern influences on classical literature, especially on Greek literature of the archaic period, and ancient philosophy. He is also interested in the reception of classical texts in modern works of art, music, and literature. He regularly offers courses in Greek and Latin language and in classical civilization.

Photo of Dr. Mark Usher courtesy of Jason Smith.


“As a classics scholar, Mark Usher knows the history and traditions of liberal education through and through and has used his experience and knowledge to design a number of successful and popular cross-disciplinary seminars for first-year students here,” said Antonio Cepeda-Benito, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont.  “I’m glad Mark’s talents have been recognized by the Fulbright Commission.  He’s just the person to take on the challenge of creating a curriculum at the American University of Mongolia that will challenge, engage, and motivate first-year students.”


Professor Usher was in Mongolia for several weeks during the Spring 2011 semester.  During this visit he gave presentations on his research and academic activities to colleagues in the Mongolian National Academy of Sciences, and the National University of Mongolia.  “I am pleased to be returning to Mongolia to design, then help launch AUM’s inaugural course offering for its first freshman class.  It is an amazing, new opportunity for me and an acknowledgement of the quality of liberal arts education the faculty at UVM provide.”



Built in 1896, Williams Hall at UVM was modeled after England’s Oxford Museum and was the first fire-proofed college building in the U.S.  Today, Williams is home to the Anthropology and Art Departments and the Francis Coburn Art Gallery.


The University of Vermont is a premier small, student-centered research university founded in 1791.  Both AUM and UVM would especially like to thank the Asia-Pacific Fulbright Programs Office in Washington, D.C. and the Public Affairs Office staff of the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia for their guidance during the application process.


The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program.  The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. 

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