March 23, 2022 —The Fulbright Program has named CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) a 2021-2022 Top-Producing Institution for Fulbright Scholars.

In a list published recently by the Chronicle of Higher Education on behalf of the Fulbright Program, CSUCI is among 11 masters-granting colleges and universities across the nation that had two Fulbright Scholars named for 2021-2022.

This year’s Fulbright Scholars are Professor of Finance Priscilla Liang, Ph.D. and Professor of Applied Physics Geoff Dougherty, Ph.D.

CSUCI is already starting off strong for next year, too, with Professor of Political Science Scott Frisch, Ph.D. being awarded a Fulbright for 2022-2023.

Professor of Political Science Andrea Grove, Ph.D., who is also the Fulbright Program Advisor, believes the campus emphasis on international scholarship results in faculty members interested in and qualified for a Fulbright.

“I think that our faculty really have this international perspective,” Grove said. “It’s kind of an innate desire to go abroad. So many of us came here partially because of its mission to cultivate an international dimension.”

Dougherty’s 2021-2022 Fulbright took him to Indonesia, where he is spending six months teaching at two universities: Diponegoro University, a public university in Semerang in Central Java; and Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java.

“Indonesia is actively investing in education of all sorts,” Dougherty said. “The people universally recognize that education is the way for them to move up the economic ladder and better themselves.”

This is not Dougherty’s first Fulbright in Indonesia. He visited as a Fulbright Specialist in Engineering Education in 2013 and 2018. And in 2009, he spent six months as a Fulbright Senior at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

“I’m far more empathetic towards other cultures, religions and political systems because of my immersive experiences in other countries,” Dougherty said. “And I'm always awestruck at how students, especially those in developing countries, are so eager to learn and so appreciative of teachers coming from foreign countries to share their knowledge and experience.”

He also appreciates the random slices of life, such as the evening spent with a group of senior students at Airlangga University.

“We toured the city center on motorbikes—a very common mode of transport in Indonesia—visited an ice cream parlor and then had our very own, impromptu music and dance session at the Surabaya City Hall,” he said.

Liang’s Fulbright Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship took her to the University of DaNang in Vietnam where she will teach finance. COVID-19 restrictions delayed her trip until the middle of March, but she will now have a chance to immerse herself in Vietnam’s evolving economy, where she sees similarities between Vietnam and her native China.

“Tentatively, we’re going to talk about corporate finance strategy,” said Liang. “I want to compare a study of the Western financial system versus the Vietnamese financial system. Financial technology is developing rapidly in Vietnam. I hope I will be able to help the University develop a ‘Fintech’ program."

‘Fintech’ refers to the integration of technology such as artificial intelligence and data science into traditional financial practices to make them safer, faster and more efficient.

CSUCI has had other Fulbright fellows in years previous, including Associate Professor of Economics Jared Barton, Ph.D., Professor of Business Andrew Morris, Ph.D. and Professor of History Jim Meriwether, Ph.D.

Barton spent a year teaching in Malaysia in 2019, immersing himself in the democratic, multiethnic culture, enjoying the pulse of everyday life in a country that is primarily Muslim, but with strong Indian and Chinese influences. He especially enjoyed relaxed Friday afternoons with graduate students in the campus outdoor cafeteria.

“Many Malay men are busy getting to, observing and then eating after Friday prayers,” Barton said. “It would be me and the female and non-Muslim male graduate students sitting around from noonish until 2 p.m., and then joined by the Malay and other Muslim men after 2, drinking tea and talking about their dissertation projects. Good times!”

Morris’ Fulbright took him to Myanmar, formerly Burma, where Morris taught in a school of business in Monywa, a city on the banks of the river Chindwin, primarily known for two impressive Buddhist temples. Morris said the experience enriched him academically, and personally, as he had always been curious about Buddhism.

“My time in Burma afforded me the opportunity to study with a Buddhist monk at a local monastery,” Morris said. “Most Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I would sit and study with my monk, learning directly from the original Pali text, which was first written about 100 B.C. As a result, I went from being Buddhist ‘curious’ to a practicing Buddhist. Life-changing indeed.”

Meriwether got two Fulbright awards: one to teach and research for a year at the University of Zimbabwe and then another a few years later that took him to the University of Nairobi.

“Fulbright allowed me to take family as well, and both times our youngest daughter was able to attend schools that had teachers and students from nearly 60 different nations,” Meriwether said.

“The world is such a vast and wonderful place, and the Fulbright program provides transformative experiences that continue to enrich my teaching, my scholarship and life,” Meriwether said.

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