Fulbright program seen as Žarea of potential growthŪ
By Sean Smith
Boston College this year is hosting three Fulbright Visiting Scholar s , whose interests range from the American higher education tenure system to the works of 9th-century theologian and translator John Scotus Eriugena.
Sponsored and funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Scholar Program enables approximately 750 faculty and professionals a year to travel to the US as researchers or lecturers. American scholars, such as Prof. Paul Schervish (Sociology), also receive awards to visit colleges and universities abroad.
"The Fulbright program represents an area of enormous potential growth for Boston College," said Center for International Studies Director Marian St. Onge. "As BC continues to evolve as an international university, we can benefit enormously by hosting Fulbright scholars, or having our own faculty and students working as Fulbright scholars."
Two of the visiting scholars, Julio Durand and Molly Lee, are working with the Center for International Higher Education and its director, Monan Professor of Education Philip Altbach. Lee, an associate professor of educational studies at Science University of Malaysia, has been at BC since December researching the privatization and internationalization of higher education.
Durand arrived earlier this month from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he serves as director of the Austral University Department of International Relations. He is examining the tenure system and working conditions of American faculty as part of his assessment of academic careers in Argentina's new private universities.
"I chose Boston College because it is a highly reputable university," said Durand. "The Center for International Higher Education is ideal to develop a project like mine.
" It is also very helpful that BC is in the Boston area, where I will be able to contact lots of institutions, scholars and administrators. It is especially important for me to have the support and help of Philip Altbach, who is a well known professor of comparative higher education."
Altbach said, "Fulbright scholars are, by virtue of their being supported by the program, acknowledged as among the best in their field or institution. We've found the association to be beneficial for all concerned. The Fulbright scholars we host interact a lot with our graduate students and build contacts with our faculty, which helps to strengthen our store of information on international higher education."
The third Fulbright Scholar is Valery Petrov, who recently returned to the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow, where he is a researcher. Petrov arrived last September to work at the Institute of Medieval Philosophy and Theology, directed by Prof. Stephen Brown (Theology), on a project involving Eriugena's Periphyseon I . He also had the opportunity to speak at a colloquium sponsored by the institute.
St. Onge said academic departments and programs "should think seriously about encouraging colleagues overseas to visit here through the Fulbright program." By the same token, she adds, BC administrators, faculty and students should pursue Fulbright awards themselves.
"The opportunities are there, and they are more attainable than one might think," said St. Onge, who notes that the Center for International Studies plans to host an informational workshop on the Fulbright program on April 18.
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