Fulbright in France Celebrates Two Milestones

Tenth Anniversary of Fulbright-Aquitaine Program
The 10th anniversary of the Fulbright-Aquitaine program was celebrated in Bordeaux, France, on October 11, 2013.  The Fulbright-Aquitaine program is one of three programs begun in 2003 by the Franco-American Commission for Educational Exchange (FACEE), in which a French regional government provides funding for French and U.S. Fulbright scholars to conduct collaborative research in the other country.  The awards in Aquitaine focus primarily on the hard sciences, including areas of analytical chemistry, materials chemistry, subsoil energy, optic – lasers, health sciences, environment sciences, and information sciences, in addition to archeology, economics, and management.  At the anniversary celebration in Bordeaux, French Scientist Laurent Cognet, who received a Fulbright-Aquitaine grant to Rice University in Texas in 2006-07, reported that 60% of his current research derives directly from his Fulbright experience.
 
French Fulbright Commission Completes First Year of U.S. International Education Administrators Seminar
The French Fulbright Commission successfully launched the first edition of the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program October 5-19.  The Fulbright program brought 11 university administrators to Bordeaux, Paris and Strasbourg with the objective of deepening the group’s understanding of the French Higher Education and Research landscape.  The delegates represented a wide range of U.S. universities including: small, private liberal arts and multidisciplinary institutions Pitzer College, Bellarmine University,  Averett University, University of Bridgeport and the New School; large state universities Kent State University and SUNY College at Old Westbury; and large private universities Columbia University, Saint Louis University and Brigham Young University.  A representative of World Education Services was also in the delegation. 
France IEA 2013 Bordeaux recently inaugurated Institut des sciences de la vigne et du vin

France IEA 2013: Bordeaux recently inaugurated Institut des sciences de la vigne et du vin

The program incorporated presentations, meetings and encounters in the three cities with leaders, decision makers, academics, Fulbright alumni, the Aquitaine and Alsace regional councils and students.  The delegation met and visited nearly 20 French institutions including universities, grandes écoles, research institutions, European institutions and high schools in Bordeaux, Paris and Strasbourg.  The European dimension of Higher Education and Research was explored in Bordeaux with the European Agency 2E2F presenting Erasmus + funding opportunities for student mobility and the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research presenting research funding.   Delegates also met with the Bordeaux Universities and the French Wine institute ISVV giving them a better appreciation of the regional dynamic and expertise. 
In Paris, participants visited the Sorbonne university and several other institutions inside and outside of Paris, including the “Université Paris-Saclay”, the most ambitious project currently supported by the French government creating a federation of world class research institutions just outside of Paris. The program offered a  regional and cross-border European experience when the 11 French IEA delegates met up with the 20 German IEA program delegates in Strasbourg.   A total of 32 American delegates were able to consolidate what they had learned about France and Germany’s Higher Education systems and exchange observations.  The groups compared systems, heard about the University of Strasbourg’s approach to mergers and international cooperation and ended the stay with a visit to the Council of Europe.  The two-week program illustrated the diversity of the higher education landscape in France as well as the regional cultural heritage.  The delegates expressed their satisfaction in the quality of the dialogues, the variety of encounters and the opportunity to explore common current issues at the heart of the globalization of higher education today.   During  the debriefing session, participants developed a concrete sense of what was possible, with whom and where.  They also felt they understood better the hurdles of cooperation due to lack the information on both sides, mismatched expectations, issues of tuition costs and the impact of rankings on institutional visibility.  They expressed their enthusiasm in revising faculty research partnerships, project collaboration, student orientation for international experience and dual-degrees.
France IEA 2013: Paris grand escalier de la Sorbonne

France IEA 2013: Paris grand escalier de la Sorbonne

Bulgarian Bluegrass Musician and Fulbright Scholar Lilly Drumeva Lands at WKU

This article originally appeared on WKU Public Radio and is being republished courtesy of the author.  

When you think of bluegrass and country music, places like Kentucky and Tennessee probably come to mind.

A scholar and musician who has been studying at WKU has another location for your list: Bulgaria.

Lilly Drumeva is a Bulgarian bluegrass and country musician who has been conducting research at WKU as part of her Fulbright Scholarship. During her time in Bowling Green, Lilly has worked closely with the WKU Folk Studies Department and Erika Brady, host of WKU Public Radio’s Barren River Breakdown.

Lilly will also travel to Nashville to research the business side of country and bluegrass music, as well as attend an international bluegrass conference in Raleigh, NC. She returns to Bulgaria in November, and will begin crafting her research into a Bulgarian-language book on bluegrass and country music.

She stopped by WKU Public Radio to talk to us about how she first encountered bluegrass music, and how the genre’s roots can be traced back to different part of Europe—including her native Bulgaria.

LillyDonStage

What made a nice girl from Bulgaria get interested in American bluegrass and country music?

“That’s a long story. It started 20 years when I was a student in Vienna, Austria. I was studying economics, and I heard country music for the first time when Emmy Lou Harris had a concert in Vienna. So I got hooked and started buying CDs.

I had a boyfriend then who played guitar, and he taught me to play a few chords. And I started buying bluegrass and country music CDs, and when I returned to Bulgaria I formed a bluegrass band, and I called it “Lilly of the West”, because Lilly is my name and also my favorite flower. And—for the Bulgarians—I came from Austria, which is in the west, so I was the “Lilly from the West.”

In 1998, we went to the Netherlands where there was a big bluegrass festival and competition. And we won it—we were voted “European Bluegrass Band of the Year.” And since then we started touring Europe, and we’ve released nine albums to date.”

When you gathered these fellow Bulgarian musicians, did you have to explain to them what U.S. country and bluegrass music was all about? Did they have any knowledge about it before you spoke to them?

“When I came back from Austria, I brought lots of CDs, so we had lots of material to learn from. But also, the three guys I found—a banjo player, a guitar player, and a bass player—they already knew a little bit about bluegrass, because in 1990 Tim O’Brien visited Bulgaria. So the American Embassy invited bluegrass musicians from the states to celebrate the fall of communism. So in 1990, the U.S. Embassy brought Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, and Sam Bush who gave a concert. And that’s when my colleagues heard bluegrass music for the first time.”

You mentioned that you were hooked when you heard Emmy Lou Harris at that concert in Vienna. Were there aspects of the music you felt that you could personally identify with? Why was it so special to you?

It’s hard to say. This is also the topic of my research—why this music is so captivating, why people get hooked. Probably it’s the energy in it, the melodies, the sincerity of the songs, the great voices, the instrumentation…the fact that this is acoustic music from the heart. And also the social element of it. You know, bluegrass is not only music, it’s also a friendship and a comraderie that you find anywhere in the world.

Some years ago I was in the states, and we visited Wisconsin. I didn’t know anybody there, but I found a banjo. He invited me on to his radio show, and just like this I was part of the community, and I was welcomed. And as a bluegrass musician, no matter where you are from you are welcome everywhere in the world.

Is there anything in bluegrass or country music that is similar in any way to—say—Bulgarian folk music?

“Of course there is! Since the United States is a melting pot of many different cultures, these nations brought their cultures and their music with them. For example, if we trace back the origin of the instruments, the banjo came from Africa, the mandolin from Italy, the guitar from Spain, the upright bass from Germany.

There are also instruments that came from Bulgaria. For example, a Bulgarian instrument is the tamboura, which is mixture between guitar and mandolin. And the tamboura was imported to Greece. The British, who fought in Greece, brought it to Ireland and England. And that’s how the bouzouki appeared in Irish folk music, and the Irish settlers brought the bouzouki with them to America.”

One of Lilly Drumeva’s original songs is being showcased at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass conference Sept. 24-28 in Raleigh, NC.

You can find Youtube videos of Lilly Drumeva and Lilly of the West performing here.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. For more information visit http://www.iie.org/cies. 

A Family’s Fulbright in Austria

Dr. Ashley Steel
Ecological Statistician
USDA Forest Service
Austria, 2008

Dr. Steel at work during her grant in Austria

Our Fulbright experience started on a very busy day – such a busy day that I very nearly missed the opportunity altogether. There was a guest seminar speaker visiting my office, a professor from Vienna, Austria. After lunch and his speech, he asked if I had time to meet later and I almost said “no.”  I remember my hesitation clearly. I had so many deadlines and “important things” to deal with that afternoon. Luckily, I hedged my bets and suggested that he swing by when he was finished with his other meetings.  He did, and by the time I left the office that day, Stefan Schmutz and I had scoped out a special session at a scientific conference, and drafted a collaborative research proposal.  Thank goodness I didn’t let busyness completely eclipse the opportunity of a lifetime.  About two years later, my family of four arrived at our apartment in Vienna with seven suitcases, four carry-ons, a laptop, and a giant ski bag.  It was New Year’s Day and there was a dusting of snow.

I spent six months researching and lecturing on landscape-scale river ecology working with the Institute for Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG) at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU).  My research in Seattle focused on building statistical models to link watershed conditions such as percent forested area, road density, or mean summer temperature to the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the river itself.  My collaborators in the IHG had participated in a large pan-European collaborative to collect fish community data  across Europe.  Our proposal was to apply the landscape approaches that had been successful for modeling salmon in the Pacific Northwest, United States, to pan-European fish community data.

During this time I also led a seminar in which we wrote an invited literature review of landscape-scale approaches to modeling riverine fish and taught a more general course on river ecology including cross-continental comparisons such as the Columbia River, full of dams and Pacific salmon, versus the Danube River, full of dams and Danube salmon.  In their final course projects, students gave presentations on various river ecology topics and sampled smoked salmon from Seattle.

Initially  I was concerned about briSteel 3nging my whole family on this professional trip.  But those concerns were quickly relieved as I began formal planning for our visit.  The first reaction of my Fulbright Scholar Program connection in Vienna, the executive director of the Austrian-American Educational Commission, was something like “Fantastic! Four for the price of one!”  Our older daughter was in third grade at the time and we found her a place in a bi-lingual school within the Viennese public school system.  She made close friends quickly, including students from Australia and Turkey.  Our younger daughter was in kindergarten and her schooling turned out to be more problematic.  The Austrian system doesn’t really have a kindergarten in the American sense of the word, which was a bit surprising since “kindergarten” is, after all, a German word.  She was ready to learn to read but the available Austrian options for kids her age were more like preschools.  After visiting over a dozen schools in five days, we finally settled on the Vienna Elementary School, an English-immersion school.  We were disappointed that she did not learn much German, but she learned a little in the playground, tried ballet and soccer, learned to read (as she had hoped), and enjoyed piano lessons while at school.  She was the hands-down best English student at the school!

Steel 2

We were also initially worried about whether my husband would find exciting opportunities while in Vienna.  Over several family trips prior to Vienna, we had begun joking about writing a book and had taken lots of informal notes on napkins and scraps of paper.  We figured that, while in Vienna, Bill could simply write the book.  Happily, he also found all sorts of professional opportunities.  He worked with a forestry student to revise two scientific manuscripts and initiated collaborations with researchers from BOKU and the Vienna Departments of Water and Forestry that led to a collaborative, comparative manuscript.

We did start that book too, but it turns out that it takes a bit more than six months of causal, part-time writing to complete a book project.  Now, over four years after returning from Vienna, we finally published it! It’s not a guidebook or a memoir of our experiences, though there are anecdotes sprinkled throughout.  The book is a how-to guide for traveling with children.  It has an educator’s spin, offering parents creative ideas for engaging kids and turning them into travel partners.  We talk about preparing kids for a travel adventure, enjoying long plane flights, planning successful days on the road, creative journaling, and reinforcing multicultural experiences at home.  We eventually had to start a blog to promote the book and more of our Austrian experiences are there including our e-letters home describing observations on Austrian life and culture.  We like to think that the book, and maybe even the blog, can contribute in a tiny way to a greater enthusiasm for cross-cultural understanding.

We’ve been back to Vienna twice since the Fulbright experience and have dreams of returning for another long stay.  Both girls now consider Vienna to be a second home and have fantastic memories of palaces, giant slices of cake, trams, wandering in the vineyards, and amazingly, classical music.  They gained a deep understanding of cultural differences as a result of our experience and also an understanding of how similar most people really are.  Time abroad has certainly given them a new lens on American life.  They are less patient with large automobiles, fast food, and a lack of public transportation.  They regularly complain about missing Austria.  It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what we miss so much.  I think it is intense family time combined with the opportunity to learn from a culture that truly believes in the value of sitting outside, sipping a cup of coffee, and enjoying insightful conversation.

Five years later, my  work collaborSteel 1ations still continue. Several manuscripts are in progress and we have hosted two Austrian graduate students here in Seattle.  Words and ideas from Austria have slipped into our way of thinking.  I commonly ask at meetings about identifying the “red thread” that runs through a presentation or manuscript.  I differentiate between river restoration and river rehabilitation and I think about “human pressures” on aquatic ecosystems.  In the United States, we tend to think of current ecological conditions in comparison to wilderness or natural conditions.  But what does “pre-European settlement conditions” mean in Vienna?  Human development, war, and political ideologies have all contributed to the ecological communities on the landscape today. One of my favorite statistical ideas is also from our time in Vienna, the possibility of underlying correlation structures that cloud our ability to untangle landscape-scale effects on river systems. Preliminary research on the idea has now been published and is an integral part of my thinking about riverine landscapes.

Our family is deeply grateful to the Fulbright Scholar Program and, in particular, to the Austrian-American Educational Commission.  Our youngest daughter has already been online to find out when she can apply for her own fellowship!

Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) Seminars: Which One is Right for You?

I learned so much about the student experience, higher education, and the employment process in Japan, and I became much more familiar with Japanese culture in general – the insight I gained has already been useful on the job this year. In addition to meeting all the generous and enlightening Japanese educators/administrators, one of the unexpected highlights of the program for me was getting to know the other U.S. participants – we bonded quickly and have stayed in touch regularly.

– Sarah Langston, University of South Carolina
2012 Japan IEA participant.

The Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) Seminars are designed for U.S. higher education administrators who are interested in spending an intensive two or three week period in one of six countries: India, Japan, Korea, Germany, France or the United Kingdom.

Each seminar offers participants an in-depth look at the higher education system, culture and society of the host country and provides an invigorating opportunity for networking with international and U.S. colleagues. All seminar participants gain a new perspective on the need to internationalize U.S. campuses and insight into how it can be done.

But which seminar is right for you? There are some differences in program goals to consider, depending on the strategic needs of your institution, as well as varying qualification information.

Participants in India’s IEA seminar will spend two weeks in March in New Delhi and other major cities, attending meetings with representatives of Indian universities, private-sector agencies and organizations and government agencies. The seminar aims to achieve a balance of topical discussions, knowledge sharing, experiential excursions and exposure to societal and cultural facets of India. Applicants must be international education administrators or senior-level university administrators with substantial responsibility for enhancing the international dimension of their institutions and who wish to expand opportunities for international collaborations through faculty exchanges, collaborative research projects or pursuit of innovative curricular design.

Administrators exploring the Japanese higher education landscape for two weeks in June will participate in briefings, campus visits, appointments with government officials, cultural activities and meetings with Japanese international education professionals in Tokyo and other cities. Preference is given to those who indicate an institutional interest in increasing the number of Japanese students on their campus. Applicants must be international education administrators or senior-level university administrators with substantial (at least 25 percent) responsibility for enhancing the international dimension of their institutions.

Korea IEA seminar participants will spend a week in June in Seoul and a week visiting institutions outside of Seoul. They will attend meetings with representatives from Korean universities, private sector agencies and organizations and government agencies. This program is not a vehicle for initiating or developing a U.S. institution’s linkage programs, for student recruitment or for establishment of branch campuses. Applicants must be international education administrators or senior-level university administrators with substantial (at least 60 percent of their time) responsibility for enhancing the international dimension of their institutions.

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In October, administrators have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Germany’s higher education system. During the first week in Berlin, participants are provided with an introduction through briefings, government appointments, campus visits and cultural events. During the second week, participants are divided into small groups, traveling to other German cities. Applicants working in career services, alumni affairs and development and fundraising are welcome to apply, along with those working in international exchanges.

Senior level administrators (deans, vice presidents, provosts and presidents) wishing to spend two weeks in October in Paris, Bordeaux and Strasbourg are invited to apply to the France IEA seminar, designed to familiarize participants with France’s higher education and research system. The program consists of briefings, campus visits, appointments with government officials, networking and cultural activities and meetings with French international education professionals.

For three weeks in August, administrators will explore the higher education system in the United Kingdom through briefings, campus visits, appointments with government officials, cultural activities and meetings with British international education professionals. U.S. and U.K. administrators will have interactive sessions to share best practices in both directions across the Atlantic. Applicants should be full-time international education administrators or senior-level university administrators. Applicants with particular expertise in student advising, student services, student recruitment and admissions are encouraged to apply.

All IEA participants return to their home institutions empowered with an enhanced ability to build partnerships, encourage study abroad participation and support international students.

Korea IEA US 2011 Group Picture

Each program can have varying qualification information, so applicants should read the award description carefully. All programs have intensive, pre-arranged itineraries, but in most cases, return travel can be arranged to allow for personal meetings or travel in-country. All awards include economy round-trip travel, travel within the country, lodging and a lump sum supplement for incidentals.

The application deadlines and more information about each program can be found at www.cies.org/IEA.  If you have further questions, please contact Alexandra Squitieri at asquitieri@iie.org or Anna Valiante at avaliante@iie.org.

New Fulbright International Education Administrator Seminars in France and the United Kingdom

We are pleased to announce the addition of France and the United Kingdom to the Fulbright International Education Administrator Seminars. The IEA seminars are designed for U.S. higher education administrators who are interested in spending an intensive two-week seminar in one of six countries: India, Japan, Korea, Germany, France, or the United Kingdom. Each seminar offers participants an in-depth look at the higher education system, culture and society of the host country. The seminars also provide an invigorating opportunity for networking with international and U.S. colleagues. Participants return to their home institutions empowered with first-hand knowledge, new professional connections and an enhanced ability to build partnerships, encourage study abroad participation and support international students.

IEA pic 1

The February 1, 2013 application deadline for the IEA Seminars in Germany, France and the United Kingdom is fast approaching.

To Apply go to the CIES Web site:http://www.cies.org/IEA/ Please contact Margo M. Cunniffe, Assistant Director, mcunniffe@iie.org, 202-686-6243 or Anna Valiante, Program Coordinator, at avaliante@iie.org with any questions.

IEA pic 2

To find out more, check out the Webinar discussing the Fulbright-Nehru IEA Seminar

Clemson to Vienna, the journey of a Fulbright-Freud Scholar and martial arts enthusiast

This article originally appeared in Clemson University Blogs and is being republished courtesy of Clemson University

Blog post by June J. Pilcher, Ph.D., alumni distinguished professor, Department of Psychology at Clemson University

Vienna, Austria – the City of Music – consistently ranked in the top 3 of the world’s most livable cities (and often number 1) – and my home while I completed my Fulbright-Freud Scholar Award from January through August of 2012.

I have known for many years that I would one day apply for a Fulbright Scholar Award, the only question was when. It all started when I had a Fulbright Student award in Freiburg and Munich, Germany. My work at the Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich as a Fulbright student gave me a head start on my academic and scientific career. As I became established on my career path, I began to consider how and when to apply for a Fulbright. I wanted to work with international students and offer them a chance similar to the one I had as a student to interact with a professor that was from a different culture and a different scientific background. I was not sure; however, that I would succeed, at least not at my desired location. Fulbrights can be very competitive, especially to the big cities in Europe. And, I wanted to go to Vienna; more about ‘why Vienna’ later.

I applied for a Fulbright to work in the Social, Cognitive, Affective, Neuroscience Unit (SCAN) at the University of Vienna and to teach at the university. But, as sometimes happens, things worked out slightly differently than I had initially planned. Instead of being awarded a Fulbright to work exclusively at the University of Vienna, I received the Fulbright-Freud Award which allowed me to work at the university but also to work with the Sigmund Freud Museum.

June Pilcher, Ph.D., Fulbright-Freud scholar

My work at the University of Vienna included teaching a course (yes, in English) about brain and behavior. The course was an upper-level seminar and had “only” 40 students enrolled. For comparison, the lower-level psychology courses had about 600 students enrolled. Teaching a course in Vienna was a fantastic experience. Interacting with the students was fun but also an opportunity to polish my teaching and mentoring skills. I thought the Austrian students were much like our students at Clemson. Some complained that there were too many readings and too much work. Others seemed to dive right in, participate in every class (yes, in English), and learn everything they could. The vast majority of students did very well in our course and seemed to enjoy the opportunity to better understand what the human brain does for us but also what it does to us.

The remainder of my work at the university focused on developing collaborative research projects in the SCAN unit. We successfully initiated two major research projects. Project 1 examines sleep habits and social cognition in college students. This project will allow us to better understand how sleep is related to social functioning. We collected data from approximately 400 students and are in the process of analyzing the results. Project 2 will examine the effects of brain stimulation on self-control under sleep deprivation conditions. Participants will be deprived of sleep for one night. During the night they will complete a variety of performance tasks as well as several social functioning measures related to emotion and empathy. At the end of the night, half of the participants will receive brain stimulation while the other half will receive sham brain stimulation (the electrodes are attached but no electrical current is delivered). Both groups of participants will complete several tasks to determine if brain stimulation affects decision-making and performance under sleep deprivation conditions. This project is currently in the planning stages. We anticipate beginning to collect data in January 2013. Although there was not enough time to complete either of these projects while I was in Vienna, I will continue to work with my new collaborators which will offer my Creative Inquiry teams and graduate students at Clemson the opportunity to be involved in an international research effort.

I am also working on a separate research project where I will incorporate the Freudian side of my Fulbright-Freud award. I am working on a manuscript on the human brain and consciousness that will partially focus on Freud’s vision of the human conscious. The manuscript will explore the current models of brain processing and how these relate to Freud’s theory of the brain and consciousness.

Although I went to Vienna for my Fulbright, I had another reason to be there. I decided early in my academic career that I wanted to apply for a Fulbright specifically in Vienna because the headquarters of my traditional martial art group, Karatedo Doshinkan, is located there. Our grand master, Hanshi 10.Dan Nobuo Ichikawa, moved from Tokyo to Vienna in the 1960s and leads classes in the honbu dojo (training headquarters) in Vienna. Training in and teaching Doshinkan has been a major part of my life for over 25 years. I go to Vienna every summer to train in our honbu dojo. Usually I can only be in Vienna for a week or two each summer. This year, I stayed in Vienna for six months; six months to complete a Fulbright but also to train with the grand master of my martial art.

My Fulbright in Vienna was a wonderful experience. In addition to my work at the University of Vienna and the Freud Museum, I attended and made presentations at research conferences in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Athens, Greece and Berlin, Germany. I also traveled for Doshinkan trainings to Warsaw, Poland; Salzburg, Austria; Tyrol, Austria; Faistenau, Austria; Nurnberg, Germany; and Tittling, Germany. My life in Vienna was filled with other experiences unique to that locale such as watching the 400+ varieties of roses bloom in the Volksgarten, going to the Summer Night Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic at Schoenbrunn Palace, and attending the 4th of July reception (with fireworks) at the U.S. Austrian Ambassador’s residence. Although I expected my time in Vienna to be productive and fun, what surprises me is how happy I am to be back and working with our students at Clemson University. It is great to be home!

Fulbright Specialist Reflects on Developing an International Partnership

Melinda R. Pierson, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Special Education, California State University, Fullerton
Fulbright Specialist, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

In late July 2011, my family and I arrived in Poznan, Poland, 150 miles east of Berlin in the northern part of the country, for an experience that was to be the highlight of my summer.  Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM) was in full summer mode at the time, with faculty collaborating on research projects and graduate students working to get a head start on the fall semester.

I had first visited UAM in October 2010 with a small group of faculty from the Cal State-Fullerton Department of Special Education who were interested in building a research partnership.  When the faculty of UAM shared information about the inner workings of their education system, we learned of the vast differences between our two systems – especially the way that students identified as needing special education services were assisted in the schools.  It then became my goal to assist with curriculum development in the area of special education.  In the spring of 2011, UAM requested me as a Fulbright Specialist to develop this curriculum, to lecture to faculty and graduate students in the area of special education, and to continue research collaborations with several faculty in elementary education and special education.

When I arrived as a Fulbright Specialist, the door was wide open for the development of innovative programs.  The first cohort of 60 students at UAM completing a double major in elementary education with a focus on mild/moderate disabilities began their program in October 2011.  While at UAM as a Fulbright Specialist, I was able to assist in the development of their curriculum.  This is a direct result of support from the Fulbright program. I will continue to assist UAM’s elementary education program faculty with curriculum development in the area of special education.

Besides the time I spent giving lectures and developing curriculum, I was able to begin collaborations on several research projects with the faculty in the School of Educational Studies.  One project focuses on inclusive education and the perceptions of Polish adults about people with disabilities.  The intent is that this longitudinal study will demonstrate that negative opinions of people with disabilities will slowly change as inclusion curriculum is added to the teacher preparation programs at UAM.  Another research collaboration is the examination of social skills rated as important by classroom teachers in Poland.  This is a comparative study with teachers in the United States to determine which social skills are necessary for success in the classroom.  I will continue to work closely with the faculty at UAM to further develop these two projects.

After my Specialist grant, one of my partners from UAM visited my university for three weeks, where we continued our research collaboration and curriculum development.  We are currently writing a Harmonia Grant offered by the Polish National Science Center to support gifted students in the Polish education system.

The Fulbright Program gave me the opportunity to spend several weeks working on projects that really will make a significant difference in the lives of children with special needs.  I was so grateful for this chance to further the education of Polish teacher candidates in elementary education and special education and to expose my family to a new culture.

Berlin: “Where Cultures Meet and Challenges Abound”

The Fulbright German Studies Seminar is an opportunity for scholars from U.S. universities, colleges and community colleges to participate in a short term grant to Germany. The seminar provides a firsthand look into the German political and economic systems’ interactions with contemporary societal and cultural issues. For U.S. scholars, this engagement in substantive dialogue with political, academic, scientific, journalistic and cultural leaders in Germany can strengthen research and teaching at home institutions. The seminar is geared toward full time professors in the field of German or European Studies, with the intention for scholars to integrate their experience directly into work with colleagues and students at home.

From June 10-19, 2013, the group of fifteen scholars will visit a variety of institutions in and around Berlin, reflecting on the charm that has made the city a top travel destination, while observing the many challenges that Berlin faces. The seminar will examine the unique culture and history of Berlin and investigate ways in which the city can promote economic growth after a steady decline since the early 1990s.

Eligible candidates include scholars and professionals from U.S.    universities, colleges, and community colleges who hold a Ph.D., or equivalent professional degree, and perform their teaching and research within the broad context of German and European Studies. Candidates must demonstrate substantial professional accomplishments and recognized professional standing. Candidates with full-time teaching appointments are preferred, but adjunct faculty are also welcome to apply.

Application Deadline: October 15, 2012

Instructions for completing the German Studies Seminar application are on our website: http://www.cies.org/GSS/SpecialInstructions.pdf

Please contact Tanya Janes, Senior Program Officer, at tjanes@iie.org or Anna Valiante, Program Coordinator, at avaliante@iie.org with any questions about the Fulbright German Studies Seminar.

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