When nursing professor Karen Reed encourages colleagues and students to apply for Fulbright awards, she also issues a warning: “Be prepared for Fulbright to change your life.”
Fulbright Scholars, the federal government’s teaching and research exchange program for faculty, sends professors from U.S. universities to live and work in another country for up to a year. More than 200 University of Florida professors have been selected for the program since 1955.
The eight UF scholars named this year elevated UF’s annual ranking from third to second in the nation, and now a cross-campus partnership has its sights set even higher.
“With the gifted faculty we have, we truly have the opportunity to be No. 1 in the nation,” Reed said.
Leonardo Villalón – the dean of UF’s International Center and a former Fulbright Scholar himself – is leading the effort to encourage and support faculty and student Fulbright applications through workshops, speeches, information sessions, mentoring and other outreach. He agrees that No. 1 is within UF’s reach, but says the real goal is increasing Fulbright participation regardless of the ranking.
“Long-term collaboration creates opportunity for lasting impact,” he said. Whether it’s an international research project, a new study-abroad program or a wider worldview in the classroom, the benefits radiate throughout campus, Villalón says.
“It makes UF a more attractive place to be as a student or a faculty member.”