UC Santa Barbara has earned a pair of honors from the U.S. Department of State, recognized for its contributions in two different scholarship programs: The Fulbright Program and the Gilman International Scholar Program. Both distinctions have a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Named a Fulbright HSI Leader, UC Santa Barbara is one of only 35 institutions to inaugurate the designation. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is recognizing the noteworthy engagement that selected Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) have achieved with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program.
The campus also is one of 20 deemed a “Large Institution, 20-year Gilman Top Producer,” for its success in sending students to study abroad through the Gilman program, which provides scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate.
“As a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution, we are thrilled to be recognized by the State Department with these two honors that highlight our campus's long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our scholarly pursuits," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “Such designations bolster our shared understanding at UC Santa Barbara that excellence and diversity go hand in hand, which has been foundational to our reputation as a preeminent university for teaching, research, and scholarship. Congratulations to all of our campus partners — students, faculty, staff, and supporters — whose hard work and dedication have made these distinctions possible.”
Fulbright HSI Leader status was conferred to UC Santa Barbara and the other institutions based on their engagement with Fulbright exchange participants during the 2019-2021 academic years, and on their promotion of Fulbright Program opportunities on campus. The leaders were announced at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference. The initiative is part of the U.S. State Department’s commitment to build diversity and inclusion within the Fulbright Program and within all the ECA’s international exchange programs.
“Every year, we have an extremely talented pool of UCSB applicants for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program,” said Shawn Warner, director of professional development in UCSB’s graduate division. “The Graduate Division, along with the Office of Undergraduate Education and faculty reviewers from across campus, are pleased to be able to support these phenomenal students who apply to do research, teaching or study for a year in places all over the globe. This year, we had 15 applicants from UCSB graduate and undergraduate students, and I feel very confident that we will have many successes during this application cycle due to the tremendous amount of work our students have put in.”
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is administered through UC Santa Barbara’s Education Abroad Program. Among large institutions, UCSB has produced the most Gilman recipients — 401 students — since 2001, sent to study countries from Chile, to Ghana, to Singapore.
“We have emphasized longer term study abroad and recruitment for non-European programs, including Asia and the global south,” said Emily Tom-Atzberger, associate director of UCSB EAP. “We actively promote and advise on scholarship opportunities and hold workshops throughout the year to inform our students about these opportunities.”
Throughout its twenty-year history, the Gilman program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students. Announced at the Diversity Abroad conference, the honored institutions, including UC Santa Barbara, were recognized for their support of equity, diversity and accessibility in study abroad for American students through the Gilman scholarship.
“We are delighted to be named one of the 35 inaugural Fulbright HSI Leaders,” said Belinda Robnett, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion. “UCSB faculty, staff and administrators are committed to supporting all members of our community. We have worked hard to create an environment where all of our members can thrive. Our promotion of underrepresented minority engagement with the Fulbright Program demonstrates that our efforts are succeeding.
“Our recognition as a Gilman Top Producer is a further testament to UCSB’s effort to close inequality gaps,” she added. “It is an honor that UCSB is one of 20 institutions that has successfully guided its students to apply for and to receive the generous Gilman Scholarship. Clearly, UCSB is moving in the right direction and is able to close the study abroad participation gap that too often excludes historically underrepresented groups including first-generation, racial-ethnic minority and disabled students. Global knowledge and exposure to a wide range of cultures is an essential part of a solid undergraduate education.”