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Sinclair to teach in Poland on Fulbright

Associate Professor Thomas Sinclair will spend the fall semester doing research and teaching in Kraków, Poland, as a Fulbright scholar.

Sinclair, chair of the Department of Public Administration in Binghamton’s new College of Community and Public Affairs, will teach a course about performance budgeting in a regional public administration school, the Malpolska School of Public Administration.

Meanwhile, he hopes to finish several projects on local government and centralization and decentralization arguments. In Poland, unlike the Southern Tier, the issue is how to decentralize government and give more authority to local leaders.

In addition, Sinclair will begin work on a book inspired by the questions he gets from MPA students at Binghamton. They often ask, “Why do we have to know this stuff?” when studying comparative government.

“I want to write a book,” he said, “that addresses that question and says more than, ‘It’s good for you.’”

Sinclair spent six weeks in Kraków in 1999 and fell in love with the city and what he calls its “wonderful, complex blend of exuberance and melancholy” on that trip.

“I haven’t been in a place where people have a higher respect for intellect,” he said. “People working in kiosks can quote poetry at length, everyone follows current events, lots of people read philosophy. It’s a very stimulating intellectual environment.”

Sinclair and his wife, Julie, studied the language all summer and have a good command of “survival Polish” at this point. He’ll teach in English.

The Sinclairs and their daughter, Gaylen, who is starting her freshman year in high school, left the United States on Aug. 20 and will spend some time traveling before the school year begins. Julie Sinclair will homeschool Gaylen while they’re away.

When they return to the United States, Sinclair will teach comparative and international courses in the MPA program. He also expects to develop a course using open-source resources so that students here and in Poland will be able to access the materials.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08