Portnoy receives Fulbright, will teach in China

Bob Portnoy; Tricia Besett-Alesch
Bob Portnoy; Tricia Besett-Alesch

Robert “Bob” Portnoy has received a Fulbright award to teach in China during the 2011-2012 academic year. Portnoy is director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University Health Center and professor of educational psychology.

Tricia Besett-Alesch is interim director of CAPS during Portnoy's Fulbright experience. Besett-Alesch, who assumes the interim roll today, is assistant director and training director for CAPS. For any issues pertaining to mental health concerns on campus, contact Besett-Alesch at (402) 472-7450.

Portnoy will teach courses and give lectures in psychology. He will focus on decreasing stigma and increasing access to mental health services in Chinese higher education. Portnoy will be based at Nanjing University in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. He will also give lectures at other universities throughout China.

“I believe that, through close collaboration with my Chinese colleagues, I can make an important contribution to the development of mental health policy in China and, in turn, make a positive impact on the emotional well-being of China’s students in higher education,” Portnoy said. “Ultimately, these will be the leaders of Chinese society in the years to come. Therefore, helping to establish policies and procedures that will contribute to more positive attitudes and beliefs toward mental health interventions will likely have broad societal benefits.”

According to Portnoy, Nanjing is particularly well suited for his current teaching and research interests, with a strong counseling center and well regarded psychology department. The psychology department started in 1920 and was the first established at a university in China.

This will be Portnoy’s third experience lecturing in China. He previously lectured at universities in Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, and Harbin.