Review of QUEST Conference – by Gene Tanta, U.S. Fulbright Scholar

27"The sun cracked the drab air of Piata Romana and I was glad to be there. Between handing out martisoare on March 1, 2013 and being charmed by Professor John Swales, I had the privilege of participating in an international conference organized by Laura Muresan and Mariana Nicolae at that Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE). Our session, chaired by Professor Rodica Mihaila with her customary good humor and grace, was called “Fulbright Roundtable: The Impact of Educational and Cultural Exchanges on Language Education and Research.” Our panel included 10-minute presentations by Elijah Ferbrache on the ideology of teaching and learning an additional language, Gene Tanta on the intellectual and everyday consequences of inviting students to pose questions, Mihaela Arsene on the difference between higher education practices in the US and Romania, Voichita Ghenghea on the effectiveness of text types in technical writing, Ruxandra Dragan on returning to Romanian with an American education on race relations, Stephanie Herzog on the practical implications of allowing students to pick the themes of their reading materials. The passion and inventiveness of my colleagues’ attempts to locate students at the heart of the learning enterprise left me saying wow.

Of equal relevance to me was Professor’s Swales keynote talk on genres which presented theories and applications of paradigmatic fixities and performative opportunities: “Genres are how things get done, when language is used to accomplish them.” (Martin, 1985) What, then, cannot get done in the Romanian Academy and beyond? Walking out into the sunlight beating down on the famous ASE façade, I wondered where the institutional dialogue breaks down between the needs of institutions and the needs of twenty-first century students in Romania as well as—allowing for their various differences—in the US and elsewhere. The QUEST international conference has emboldened me to advocate more fervently and publically for the inclusion of students’ voices in conversations about their educations. Spring is coming—whether we are ready for it or not."

Dr. Gene Tanta, U.S. Fulbright Scholar

My fulbright experience

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Students at the advising center

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