Global Connections: It’s Fulbright season

The U.S. Fulbright Program has been our nation’s flagship international educational exchange program for more than 70 years. Its purpose is to facilitate international diplomacy through educational collaboration.

The program provides U.S. citizens with opportunities to teach and conduct research in more than 150 countries, and foreign scholars with opportunities to teach, lecture and conduct research in the United States. Not just for faculty and scientists, the Fulbright Program encourages applications from college administrators, artists, journalists, lawyers and many others. Over the years, the program has facilitated and helped maintain international relationships between individuals and governments, including collaboration on joint priorities and projects to meet shared needs.

Most Fulbright funding is through annual U.S. congressional appropriations. However, many foreign governments make substantial contributions to the program. Also, private organizations and individuals make donations and in-kind contributions. In addition, U.S. and foreign higher education host institutions provide opportunities for academic and professional development, and often share program costs.

For community college faculty

Since 2008, Fulbright scholars from U.S. community colleges have received awards to 56 countries across the world. Over the last three years, community college participation has increased 40 percent. In 2016, the American Association of Community Colleges joined the Fulbright Alliance to promote Fulbright offerings and help to further increase community college participation. The number of community college grantees in 2017 nearly doubled from 2016.

In 2018, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program will offer nearly 500 teaching and research awards in over 125 countries. Below are some opportunities that may be of interest, particularly to community college faculty and administrators. They have an August 1 deadline.

The Community College Faculty Award in Russia is a one- to two-semester program that provides experienced community college faculty in any academic field with a chance to teach courses, advise on the development of curricula and new academic programs, and share innovative pedagogy, including the use of technology.

The program in the United Arab Emirates provides a 10-month award for community college faculty, retired undergraduate faculty or professionals. Preferred academic fields include environmental sciences, educational leadership, information technology, materials science, water resources, health care administration, public administration, international business, tourism communication, innovation and entrepreneurship.

In Barbados and the eastern Caribbean, the four- to nine-month program provides opportunities to teach courses from associate to graduate degree levels (potential hosts include community colleges) and to conduct collaborative or independent research on one of several islands, including Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and St. Lucia.

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Outside of the August 1 deadline, the Community College Administrators Seminar to Russia (October 15 deadline) and the U.S.-France International Education Administrators Program in France (February 1 deadline) are two-week programs underused by community college leaders that acquaint participants with the higher education and research system in those countries. Each program includes campus visits, cultural activities and opportunities for networking, knowledge sharing and best practice exchange.

Through the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (SIR) Program, community colleges can bring non-U.S. scholars to their campuses to teach, lecture and conduct research. While clearly valuable toward enhancing or expanding internationalization efforts, few community colleges have taken advantage of the program over the last few years. Deadline: October 15.

In addition, community colleges are listed among the priority institutions to receive awards from the Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF) to host Fulbright Visiting Scholars, already in the U.S., for short-term speaking engagements. Funding requests are accepted year-round. In 2016-2017, more than 40 community colleges received OLF awards.

About the Author

Wayne Wheeler
is director of international programs and services at the American Association of Community Colleges.