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Meet Mourat Tchoshanov, the newest Fullbright Award recipient

Iziah Moreno
While in Kazakhstan, Tchoshanov will research and teach different learning implements.

Learning college mathematics can be hard but teaching it to students means an individual has to have the skill set to teach and the brains to know so much math. Mathematics professor Mourat Tchoshanov, Ph.D., he has taken the challenge of not teaching students here at UTEP but teaching educators in Kazakhstan. 

Awarded with the Fullbright Award; Tchoshanov will have his cost of travel and living in Kazakhstan covered over the next year as he will be researching and training educators in the country. He will also be supporting local students by providing the development of online programs. Graduating from a local pedagogical university in Turkmenistan; a country in the Central Asian region, he started an internship and teaching career at the age of 21. 

“My first day in the job, I felt it was a disaster,.” Tchoshanov said.  “All my attempts to get students’ attention and handle the situation in the classroom were unsuccessful. I didn’t expect such a disaster. Most importantly, I was completely disappointed in my ability to teach.” 

Though he struggled in being an educator, Tchoshanov says his mom has been a key figure in him becoming an educator and the person who reminded him of his bright future.  

“I said to my mom: “I quit teaching… I’m not a teacher.” (My) mother said gently: “You didn’t even start it yet. Let’s make little steps, one at a time!” We spent an entire evening that day talking about teaching,” Tchoshanov said. 

Words from Toshanav’s’ mother made all the difference, as Tchoshanov won the UT System Regents Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010, which he later presented to her before her passing.  

It was his mothers advice that guided Toshanav to come to the U.S. in 1994 as a visiting scholar in his field of mathematics and secure a tenure-track position at UTEP in January, 2000.  

Through the Fulbright Program, Tchoshanov will have the opportunity to give back to his community. As he will be able to inspire local faculty in designing online courses and implementing effective learning environments for students.   

“The major purpose of me being there is to work closely with faculty and help them to look at the learning environment as a physical, cognitive, social, and emotional space. Learning, by its very nature, is a space of communication, discourse, and dialog,” Tchoshanov said.  “Unfortunately, in traditional practices of online teaching, this important element is kind of hidden. Including discourse space in designing and conducting online courses is critical to make them effective.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of online learning grew and   became another option to increase access to higher education.  Helping future educators in Central Asia,  Tchoshanov will provide faculty development through workshops on designing effective online courses in his area of expertise.  

Whether it be about changing the way instructors and students interact during online classes to personalized support for students in distance learning. The award will allow him to provide instructional materials and resources needed to reach these goals at the institutions in Kazakhstan.  

 Embarking on this new journey, Tchoshanov feels well-prepared to provide his expertise and knowledge to local faculty, students and community.  

“The Fulbright program is about establishing bridges between countries. To establish this cultural and educational bridge between Central Asia and the USA has been my professional and personal goal,” Tchoshanov said. 

Katy Ruiz is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Katy Ruiz
Katy Ruiz, Contributor/Reporter
Katy Ruiz is a contributor for The Prospector. Going towards her sophomore year, she is majoring in digital media production with a minor in film. Her goal is to get to the editing department on the news.
Iziah Moreno
Iziah Moreno, Photo Editor
Iziah Moreno is the photo editor for The Prospector. He is a freshman majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in marketing. After graduation, he hopes to work in the world of photojournalism and media.
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    Dr. Raymond Xochitlpílli Falcón, '13Oct 10, 2023 at 5:42 PM

    Congratulations to one of the most kindest and thoughtful professors I’ve ever worked with!!!