JBU Professor Dr. Kevin Simpson Receives 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant

Simpson to Teach the Social Psychology of the Holocaust in Slovakia

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Dr. Kevin Simpson, department chair and professor of psychology, received a 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to teach the social psychology of the Holocaust and sport and exercise psychology in Slovakia.

SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (March 29, 2018) – John Brown University announced this week that Dr. Kevin Simpson, department chair and professor of psychology, has been selected to receive a 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Simpson will teach two courses – the social psychology of the Holocaust and sport and exercise psychology – at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, for a semester beginning February 2019.

Simpson’s teaching fellowship titled “Resisting Indifference: Teaching the Social Psychology of the Holocaust” is designed to enhance student’s global citizenship skills, while preserving vital historical memories. Simpson hopes that by studying the individual and social factors that led to the Holocaust, Slovakian students will confront their complicated history, as the country was both a victim and eager collaborator to the Nazi state, will recognize that history always occurs in a psychological context and will learn to counteract future injustice.

“As a teaching psychologist, I am discovering that our current generation of students are poorly equipped to discuss the underlying factors which continue to make genocide possible around the world,” Simpson said. “In fact, the diminishing loss of living memory of the worst genocide in human history stands as a stark reminder that we as educators must carry on the moral imperative of teaching the Holocaust. I hold to the truth that Holocaust education genuinely helps to combat silence and indifference as we build knowledge and acceptance of differences in our diverse society.”

In addition to teaching, Simpson will present guest lectures for other academic departments and in the community on wider topics ranging from soccer during the Holocaust, the psychology of genius and creativity, psychology and film, and topics in abnormal psychology and psychotherapy.

Simpson also intends to expand his research on the use of classic and modern propaganda in teaching social psychology, the theoretical and practical innovations in teaching social psychology of the Holocaust and themes of perpetration and bystander factors.

In 2016, Simpson published his first book titled “Soccer Under the Swastika: Stories of Resistance and Survival during the Holocaust” that reveals the powerful role football played during World War II through long-forgotten memoirs and testimonies. Simpson’s book integrates his two courses.

“Simpson’s teaching, research and writings have helped our students better understand the factors that led to the Holocaust and see why we all need to stand against acts of injustice and intolerance today,” Robert Norwood, JBU dean of undergraduate studies, said. “We are excited that he has this opportunity to impact students in Slovakia in similar ways.”

Simpson’s two courses are modeled closely to seminars he teaches at JBU. However, he will adapt his curriculum and classroom methods to better relate to his students through Slovakian books, readings and examples. To prepare for his trip abroad, Simpson will learn Slovak language, culture and history.

“Ultimately, my teaching will be enriched greatly,” Simpson said. “Beyond expanding my teaching repertoire, I am excited to see my teaching deepen in international sophistication and cultural sensitivity, with an enhanced appreciation of higher education in a post-communist context.”

The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored and managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. Learn more at www.cies.org.

Simpson is the fourth JBU professor to earn a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant. In 2016, Dr. Marquita Smith, department head of communication and associate professor of journalism, was awarded the 2016-2017 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant for the Mass Communications, Journalism and Broadcasting teaching/research position at the University of Ghana, Legon.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

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