Posted Monday, December 27, 2010
A recent University of Akron graduate is learning about currency in Croatia while a Cleveland State University history professor gained insight into the culture of a small village in Nigeria while teaching about the African American experience in the U.S. The Fulbright scholars go abroad to increase understanding between people of the United States and foreign countries. We'll talk with four Fulbright Scholars to find out just how they do that, Monday at 9 on the Sound of Ideas.
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As a faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of Akron and a member of the student Fulbright Committee at the University of Akron, I want to thank you for your program on the Fulbright program today (even though you mistakenly stated that our student Matt Zuzic had a degree in Finance rather than Economics!). It is really important for people to recognize the value of overseas study, research and teaching: especially what it means be an American really living abroad. I did want to clarify one point: there are two major programs in the Fulbright: one for faculty and the other for students. I took the following explanation about the difference from the FAQ’s on the Fulbright site
“What is the difference between Fulbright “students” and Fulbright “scholars” in the Fulbright Program?
Fulbright “students” are participants in the Fulbright Student Program, which enables graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, teach, or conduct research. A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) is generally required by the start of the Fulbright grant period. Some exceptions may apply, especially for artists.
Fulbright “scholars” are participants in the Fulbright Scholar Program, which enables college and university faculty members with a Ph.D. (or equivalent terminal degree) to teach and/or conduct research. The Fulbright Scholar Program is also open to artists and professionals. A small number of grants are also offered annually to U.S. international education administrators through the Fulbright Scholar Program.”
You may have students contacting you about applying for the Fulbright program and this distinction is important. The method for faculty to apply was described by the faculty you interviewed. However students need to apply early in their senior year and to do so through the Faculty Advisor for the Fulbright program at their university or college. They can find that person on the Fulbright Student Program web-site. For example, Karl Kaltenthaler is the Fulbright advisor at the University of Akron. I do not know who that person is at Cleveland State, but it can be found on the site quite easily.
There is a difference also in the competitiveness of the programs. For the Fulbright Student program the application process is rigorous and the program is very competitive: about 1500 students from all over the US are accepted. At least 50% of applications are turned down by the US Fulbright Committee and then each country only takes a small number of students who make it through to this next level: it is considered a very prestigious award. From your discussion, faculty Fulbright’s are also somewhat competitive, but the purpose is more to provide meaningful sabbatical experiences. Unfortunately, less faculty members have the opportunity to apply for these programs.
Finally, Fulbright involves international exchange: a number of foreign students come each year to the United States under another part of the program. We have a number here at the University of Akron and it is very interesting to hear their impressions of the US.
Thank you again for show casing an important international program
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Akron