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Prestigious honor goes to professor


After scaling Nepal's Laboches' and Kwande, Italy's Dolomites, the French Alps and India's Bhagarathi III — all 12,000 to 22,000 feet high — as well as Mount Whitney, Mount Rainier and the Grand Tetons, England's highest peak probably won't seem like much to Dr. Micha Miller.

But the 40-year-old Columbia College biologist and world-class climber isn't Britain-bound for the 3,209-foot Scafell Pike.

He's going to climb the academic ladder.

Miller was recently named a Fulbright scholar, and next summer, will swap places with a British professor.

Miller will take the place of British biologist Leuan Davies of Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham for six weeks, and both professors will teach each other's classes.

With the goals of education and foreign relations/cultural understanding, the prestigious Fulbright Program — established in 1946 and named for its founder, Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright — uses federal funding to send more than 250 Americans abroad to teach in foreign countries each year.

The Fulbright recipient's teaching position is filled by an exchange teacher who often brings a different perspective to American classrooms.

"Students will be the benefactors on both sides," said George Railey, the college's dean of instructional services, arts and sciences.

Columbia College will also benefit by having a Fulbright scholar on staff.

"It's just really exciting to have one of our faculty members selected," said Columbia College President Jim Riggs. "They are very rarely given to community college faculty."

Fulbright scholarship candidates must have a strong sense of leadership, and Miller, Railey said, has a mountain of it. In his seven years at Columbia College, he has helped new teachers and more seasoned instructors.

"He's extremely energetic, he's a real leader on campus when it comes to teaching theory and pedagogy and development of teaching strategies," Railey said. "He serves as a mentor not only for our freshmen faculty, but our senior faculty as well."

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