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UA ranked a top producer of Fulbright scholars in 2019

Dani Cropper
Old Main is the original building from the University of Arizona.

Eight faculty members from the University of Arizona received Fulbright grants to conduct international research and projects, which ranked the UA the third top-producing Fulbright research institution in the country in 2019.

The Fulbright scholar program provides funding to faculty and staff to go abroad and teach, do research or perform some other type of service. The goal of Fulbright is to promote peace and diplomacy between the United States and other countries through education.

Dale Lafleur, senior director of international partnerships at the UA, is the Fulbright scholar liaison and assists faculty through the process of becoming a Fulbright scholar. The UA has been a top producer of Fulbright scholars several times, and Lafleur said that is a reflection of the expertise of the UA’s faculty and staff.

“Being a top producer reflects the high capacity of the faculty and staff on our campus to do this type of work around the world,” Lafleur said. “We have a lot of expertise in different areas, and we have a lot of faculty and staff who are interested in doing things globally.” 

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Robert Fleischman, a Fulbright scholar and professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, is working on earthquake engineering in southern Italy with his Fulbright grant. 

“I am providing seminars and short courses on some of the cutting edge concepts [of earthquake engineering] and U.S. design,” Fleischman said. “My colleagues here at Università del Salento are teaching me the latest techniques in assessing and retrofitting older concrete and masonry structures, including historic buildings and ancient monuments.”

Fleischman has history with both Fulbright and Italy, which led him to pursue the Fulbright grant.

“My father had a Fulbright when I was younger, and it seemed like a good experience,” Fleischman said. “I chose Italy because I have a great-grandfather who was a builder in Italy.” 

Many UA faculty who have already received a Fulbright grant assist scholars and students who are applying for Fulbright or preparing for their Fulbright project. Fleischman’s advice for those interested in Fulbright is to speak to scholars with experience in Fulbright.

“Talk to people who have done Fulbright and study so you choose the right place,” Fleischman said. “One of my colleagues had gotten [a Fulbright grant] in the past, and he gave me good advice.”

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To apply for a Fulbright grant, scholars must submit a proposal form for their project in their country of choice, letters of recommendation and a CV. According to Lafleur, scholars must say why they want to do their proposed project and how it will benefit not only themselves but the UA, the partner institution and the regions or country that are involved. 

“We’ve seen a lot of international partnerships stem from Fulbright experiences where faculty come back having established a strong rapport with colleagues in another country,” Lafleur said. “Usually there are longer-term outcomes that stem from these Fulbright experiences.”

From April 1-5, UA Global, UA Honors College and UA Graduate College will hold the 2019 Fulbright week where students and faculty can learn all about Fulbright. For more information on Fulbright at the UA, visit their website.

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