Dr.Bogdana Neamtu, Fulbright Senior Research Fellow from Babes-Bolyai University, Romania.

Fulbright Senior Research Fellow Hosted Jointly By The Carl Vinson Institute And The Cox International Center

From March to July 2019, Cox International Center, has hosted, jointly with Carl Vinson Institute for Government, Dr. Bogdana Neamtu, a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow from Babes-Bolyai University, Romania. For her Fulbright research, Dr. Neamtu investigated possible ways in which to build more engaged universities in her home country. She is interested in the experience of US universities with community outreach and engagement and is looking for ways in which US best practices can be transferred to the Romanian context. As part of her Fulbright research, Dr. Neamtu visited more than twelve US universities, both in Georgia and throughout the US. Her goal was to interact with both administrators and scholars at these universities in order to gain a better understanding of how universities engage with their communities and how faculty perceive engaged scholarship in the context of more traditional research.

Dr. Neamțu is Associate professor and head of the Department of Public Administration and Management at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She obtained her PhD in 2008, with a thesis in the field of urban studies (urban growth management). After obtaining her PhD, she continued to work on topics related to urban sustainability (two post-doc research grants, one focusing on the measurement of urban sustainability and reporting and the other one focusing on sustainability considerations and tools in public procurement). She co-directs the Center for Good Governance Studies, a small research unit dealing with topics pertaining to free access to documents and information, public law, public procurement, corruption studies and other aspects pertaining to good governance.

In addition to her Fulbright research, Dr. Neamtu was also involved in a variety of research activities taking place at the Cox International Center. Her most important contribution has been linked to a research carried out jointly by the Cox International Center and the Carl Vinson Institute on the communication practices of county commissioners from rural Georgia. The grant, which is currently under implementation, investigates ways in which county commissioners can better engage with their constituencies and endeavors to equip the commissioners with strategies and tools to make their public communication more effective. Upon returning to Romania, Dr. Neamtu will work with a team of researchers from Babes-Bolyai University toward replicating the research in the Romanian context. The comparative research will allow scholars from both universities to gain a better understanding of the challenges elected officials in different national jurisdictions are faced with and to devise strategies for supporting them in this respect.

According to her Fulbright mentor, Dr. Rusty Brooks, director of the International Center at Carl Vinson, “Dr. Neamtu has enriched the research on how county commissioners from rural Georgia communicate and engage with their constituencies by bringing to the table her international experience in working with rural communities from Eastern Europe. She has a deep understanding of the challenges rural areas face and how they can be mitigated”. Dr. Brooks has also appreciated Dr. Neamtu’s attitude with regard to working as part of an international team and positive energy and willingness to find new things and interact with colleagues at Carl Vinson and UGA.

Dr. Vlad, director of the Cox International Center, also welcomed Dr. Neamtu’s presence at the Center and the opportunity to replicate some of the projects in the Romanian context. Dr. Vlad, who is originally from Romania, stated: “It was a real pleasure to co-host Dr. Neamtu at the Cox Center. She is very easy to work with and got immediately immersed into some of our projects. I really appreciate her willingness to help and to conduct research in an area that was slightly different than her Fulbright research”.

Upon returning to Romania, Dr. Neamtu will complete her Fulbright research on engaged universities and scholarship in light of best practices by American universities. As part of her dissemination strategies, Dr. Neamtu will work jointly with some scholars at UGA towards producing a joint publication. She will also continue to work with Dr. Vlad and Dr. Brooks toward replicating the research on communication and engagement in the Romanian context.