Campus Spotlight: 4 C’s for Fulbright Promotion on JMU Campus

by Edward J. Brantmeier, Ph. D.
Assistant Director—Center for Faculty Innovation, Assistant Professor—Learning, Technology, and Leadership Education
JMU Fulbright Campus Representative, Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, India 2009
James Madison University

The Fulbright Program provides a tremendous vehicle for internationalizing careers and for promoting mutual understanding between/among citizens of the United States and of other countries.  Collaboration, community, coaching, and celebration—these are the promising practices of James Madison University’s approach to promoting the Fulbright Program on campus.

Collaboration: The Office of International Programs, the Center for Faculty Innovation, and the Office of Diversity at James Madison University work together to provide faculty necessary support for enhancing their career goals in research, teaching, and service. This collaborative approach sends a powerful message about University support for the Fulbright Program.  This support includes hosting events to build community, Fulbright coaching services for interested faculty, and celebrations that honor past Fulbrighters.

Community: Periodic information sessions at annual on-campus conferences as well as visits from Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors, coupled with celebratory events (most recently hosted by the Provost and President) help highlight the Fulbright Program to the university community.  These festive convenings help Fulbright to gain a deserved high profile status on campus; they show faculty that the University cares about this prestigious award. Past Fulbrighters mingle with potential Fulbrighters—networks and community are generated.

Coaching: Interested faculty and administers can reach out to the Center for Faculty Innovation to strategically plan their Fulbright and request coaching assistance.  Fulbright information sessions and application writing sessions are offered in the spring. Potential Fulbrighters can also request individual consultations through the Center for Faculty Innovation.

Celebration:  Don’t forget to celebrate. Former Fulbrighters earn web-recognition on a JMU Voices of Fulbright website, as well as opportunities to speak about their experiences in Voices of Fulbright scholarly talks during the semester.  We celebrate and showcase the work of our Fulbrighters—a win-win for JMU and the Fulbright Program.

Campus Spotlight: Texas A&M University-Central Texas welcomes back its first Fulbright scholar

The Campus Spotlight series highlights the innovative ways in which institutions around the country are promoting the Fulbright Scholar Program and offers inspiration for campus representatives to implement new ideas with faculty and administrators.

This blog post originally appeared in the Killeen Daily Heraldon September 6, 2013 and is republished here courtesy of the author, Chris McGuinness.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas welcomed back its first Fulbright scholar, who gave a presentation about his work in the Republic of Cameroon to students and staff Thursday afternoon.

“It’s a phenomenal honor,” said Russell Porter, the university’s associate provost for the graduate studies and research.

Mathematics professor Christopher Thron was accepted into the prestigious exchange program run by the U.S. government after a lengthy and competitive application process. Being selected as a Fulbright scholar allowed Thron to travel to the French-speaking nation to teach graduate students at the Higher Institute of the Sahel in Maroua.

“I really enjoyed my time there,” said Thron, who holds doctorates in mathematics and physics. “It was a blast.”

The trip marked the second

time Thron was granted a Fulbright scholarship. He traveled to Chad in 2004.

During his time in Cameroon, Thron taught courses in mathematical modeling, which uses math as a framework to solve real world problems in areas such as infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications.

“I wanted to teach math that would be useful to them,” Thron said. “Math can help you manage the resources you have in the most efficient way possible.”

Thron said he turned to his graduate students at A&M-Central Texas to help him develop curriculum for his Cameroon students.

“I like to keep my (A&M-Central Texas) students involved,” Thron said.

While Thorn traveled to Cameroon to teach, he also said those same students had much to teach him.

“When you have an exchange between people of different backgrounds … that’s when real change and progress takes place,” Thron said.

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