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Friday, September 2, 2005

UNCP art professor awarded a Fulbright fellowship

How far will UNC Pembroke's Dr. John Antoine Labadie go to stoke the fires of the digital revolution?

John LabadieAn associate professor of art at UNCP, Dr. Labadie will spend the fall 2005 semester as a visiting professor at the National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taipei, Taiwan.

NCCU is a comprehensive university consisting of nine colleges, 33 departments, and 42 graduate institutes (all have master’s programs, 29 offer doctoral programs and 14 provide degree programs for working students). NCCU awards diplomas to approximately 3,000 students annually.

Based on his strong art exhibition and academic record, Dr. Labadie was awarded a prestigious Fulbright fellowship to teach and to conduct research abroad. Named for the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, the program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Center for the International Exchange of Scholars. Its mission is to foster international understanding through scholarly exchange.

Going half way around the world to the National Chengchi University - a university without a visual arts program - is the perfect place to peer over the edge of the digital planet, Dr. Labadie said.

“Working at NCCU allows me to integrate the study and practice of digital arts with academic programs in advertising, information technology, education and business,” he said. “Their university is also in the process of forming a Digital Academy, so I have been asked to offer my experience and insight into integrating digital across disciplines.”

Taiwan is a good setting for a digital project, Dr. Labadie said.

“A lot of things I want to experience first hand are going on in Taiwan,” he said. “Taiwan is well on its way to becoming almost entirely digital, and is, in some ways, a model for education transforming culture.

“As an example of this, one of the stated goals of NCCU is to the ability to recognize and respond to changes shaping society and academia,” he said. “I think their desire to integrate digital visual arts into their other studies through the Fulbright program is proof of this.”

Dr. Labadie is the director of UNCP's Digital Academy (DA). The DA develops and promotes activities which bring together scholars from across campus who foster various creative uses of digital technologies.

The academy also recognizes the reality of the rapidly changing and expanding technological landscape and promotes, establishes, activates and focuses on acquiring digital knowledge, disseminating digital knowledge and modeling professional digital practice. Since 1997, first as the Media Integration Project, UNCP’s Digital Academy has stimulated new courses that integrate digital media in many departments, including art, music, philosophy, sociology and literature. A new “Media Integration Studies” minor will be available to all UNCP students beginning this fall semester.

At NCCU this fall, Dr. Labadie will teach “Digital Art: Media, Practices and Techniques” to both undergraduate and graduate students, lecture at other institutions and exhibit his work in various venues in Taipei and elsewhere.

Trained in painting, psychology and art education, Dr. Labadie joined the UNCP Art Department faculty in 1994. He is the founder of the Digital Arts program and cofounder, along with Larry Arnold of the Music Department and George Johnson of the Department of Mass Communications, of the UNC Pembroke Digital Academy.

For more information about the Digital Academy, please call 910.521.6216 or email john.Labadie@uncp.edu.

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