Fulbright Scholars and Illinois gain much from each other
By Leslie Myrick
October 10, 2017
  • /Office of International Programs

For the third year in a row, the Office of International Programs (OIP) in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) hosted the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program from Lebanon for a 10-week training program in rural and economic development.

This year’s seven scholars participated in an ambitious program that included research mentoring provided by University of Illinois faculty as well as instructional training for teaching provided by the University of Illinois’ Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). The scholars also attended cultural events and interacted with campus administration and community groups to gain a fuller understanding of American society and of our institutions of higher education.

At the closing ceremony and poster session, the scholars presented individual projects, provided an overview of higher education in Lebanon, and thanked the campus community for its hospitality.  

Building ties

Beyond the research conducted and teaching skills gained, the scholars noted the hospitality extended by the University of Illinois community.

“It felt like we were in a family not a university,” one scholar said.

The feeling is mutual, as Director of ACES OIP, Dr. Alex Winter-Nelson, expressed:

“When I’m asked why we do this program – because it is not a profit center – I say we do it because it is enriching for us. We have a mandate to solve international challenges and a strong international network strengthens the university as an institution trying to address issues that span national borders. Beyond helping build our institutions, these guests enrich our community. They, for example, are on WEFT radio sharing their musical culture, at the library giving presentations, and interacting with many people in this community. We gain much from this program, and we hope that these relationships are mutually beneficial and that they will last,” he said.

Possibilities for continued engagement are already emerging from the program; one scholar is planning to co-teaching a course with an Illinois professor in the spring and another is planning to apply for a PhD program here.

The scholars presented this beautiful video as an invitation to their new friends to someday visit Lebanon.  

Research and Program Team

The scholars’ diverse research projects included:

  • Urban Branding and Impact on Economic Development
  • Rise of E-Management in the Municipal Performance in Lebanon
  • Impact of Big Data on Accountancy
  • Active Learning: New Culture for Addressing Students Challenges
  • Stakeholders: Key Players for Small & Medium Size Enterprise in Difficult Times
  • Efficiency, Technical Projects, and Productivity of Arab Banks
  • The Impact of Base III on Bank’s Lending Rate and Loan Growth in the MENA Region

This year’s Fulbright mentors were:

  • Dr. Arnab Chakraborty
  • Dr. Matthew Winters
  • Dr. Dave Rosch
  • Dr. Alex Winter-Nelson
  • Dr. Mindy Mallory
  • Dr. Adam Osman
  • Dr. Nick Paulson

Other members of the Fulbright program team included:

  • Suzana Palaska, Associate Director of OIP who served as cultural coordinator
  • Cheelan Bo-Linn, Senior Specialist in Education at CTLL who lead the scholars teaching workshops
  • Dr. Bill Simmons, Professor Emeritus
  • Dr. Mosbah Kushad, Associate Professor in Crop Sciences, who served as cultural coordinator
  • Megan Davis, OIP Office Assistant
  • Kwabena Krah, graduate student