When Michael Stohl travels to Arhus, Denmark, next fall to teach at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, it will mark his third term as a Fulbright Scholar. Over the course of his career, the professor of communication at UC Santa Barbara has become a Fulbright veteran, having received a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to lecture at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and a Fulbright Fellowship for International Education Administrators in Japan and Korea.
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Scholar Program is America's flagship international educational exchange program. Since its inception in 1946, the program has sponsored approximately 300,000 American and foreign scholars. Recipients are selected based on academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
During the academic year just completed, UCSB faculty members and one doctoral student received Fulbright grants to spend all or part of the year in Russia, Taiwan, Mexico, and El Salvador. In addition, the campus hosted Fulbright scholars from Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, and Germany.
According to Stohl, his Fulbright experience has been invaluable. "It enabled me to start thinking and doing research on alternative conceptions of national security," he said of his work at the University of Canterbury in 1983.
Looking forward, the Fulbright program will offer him a unique opportunity to collaborate with a colleague in Denmark. He and journalism professor Hans Henrik Holm will teach a course titled "Reporting Global Change" in the university's Erasmus Mundus-Journalism master's program. In addition, they will work on a joint book project on the global media moment.
"The interesting thing about this particular program is that the students come from many countries, not only European countries, but also from all over Latin America, Africa, Asia, and even a few from North America," said Stohl. "You have very different journalistic norms and practices on an actual professional level, plus the differences in culture and language. The student body is as diverse as I've ever encountered in any single classroom."
Caitlin Fisher, professor and research chair at York University in Canada, described her Fulbright experience at UCSB as "being akin to a sabbatical for intellectual renewal, while having the opportunity to come and connect with other labs." Fisher's work here focuses on visualization and digital storytelling practices, using the campus's state-of-the-art AlloSphere. In addition to conducting research at UCSB, Fisher holds the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Visiting Research Chair.
The Canada-U.S. Fulbright Visiting Research Chairs program enables promising and prominent Canadian scholars to conduct research, develop collaborations, guest lecture, and/or teach at select universities and research centers in the U.S. for all or part of an academic year.
The three UCSB professors who received Fulbright grants for the 2012-13 academic year include Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, professor of history, who studied at the European University at St. Petersburg; Hsiu-Zu Ho, professor of education, who studied at Academia Sinica; and Mary O'Connor, associate researcher in the anthropology department, who studied at the University of the Americas.
In addition, geography doctoral student Elizabeth Kennedy received a Fulbright Student Award to conduct research in El Salvador on repatriated child migrants –– a population she has been studying and working with for two years in the U.S., where they are known as Unaccompanied Alien Children.