At Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY), faculty are breaking ground in research from the social to molecular sciences, earning significant grant awards and garnering prestigious honors. Among these are BMCC’s faculty Fulbright Scholars, Cynthia Wiseman, Elizabeth Whitney and Cheryl J. Fish.
The Fulbright Scholarship program, managed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, seeks to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.
“We are proud of our Fulbright Scholars and their contributions to research and the exchange of ideas about issues of global concern,” says BMCC Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Karrin E. Wilks. “Faculty putting their work on an international stage enhances their scholarship, the profile of BMCC, and opportunities to bring globalization and inter-disciplinarity into the classroom to benefit our students.”
Ongoing benefits of Fulbright experience in Vietnam
BMCC Professor of Academic Literacy and Linguistics Cynthia Wiseman completed her U.S. Fulbright experience in Vietnam, where she was researching English Language education and teacher training in Summer 2015. The academic collaborations she began in Central Vietnam are ongoing, she says, “as I collaborate with colleagues in Vietnam to engage students in technology and language learning, and to open up opportunities for language teacher education.”
Professor Wiseman, who has served on BMCC’s committee to develop global curricular competencies, adds that “We value global awareness in the classroom and in our BMCC community, and part of building those global competencies is connecting with other educators around the world.”
Through correspondence including a Wiki created for language teaching resources and a travel blog, she stays in touch with colleagues in Vietnam who are seeking to improve their language instruction and address the needs of a more international classroom.
These conversations began at Pham Van Dong University in Quang Ngai, Vietnam, where Wiseman was the visiting Fulbright Scholar, and in universities where Professor Wiseman was an invited featured guest speaker. She presented a two-day intensive seminar on curriculum development at Ba-Ria Vung Tau University in Vung Tau City and at Da Nang University. She also spoke on teacher action research at Bac Lieu University south of the Mekong Delta, near Cambodia, and was a featured guest speaker on the subject of technology and language education at Dong Nai University in Bien Hoa.
Now, Wiseman says, “My goal is twofold: to acquaint the BMCC academic community to opportunities as Fulbright Scholars, and to bring the educators I am in contact with in Vietnam to New York for more intensive, workshop-centered collaborations.” She also notes that the impact of her time in Vietnam is felt in her current English Language instruction, where any given class includes students from more than a dozen countries — including Vietnam.
Fulbright faculty scholars in Finland
Other BMCC Fulbright Faculty include Professor Elizabeth Whitney, who teaches in the Speech, Communications and Theater Arts department. In 2015, Whitney received a Fulbright to Finland, where she met with colleagues at the University of Turku and the Finnish Fulbright Center in Helsinki. There, she made the presentation, “Arts Funding, Shared Values, and Digital Storytelling: A Comparative Approach Between the United States and Finland,” and created a blog, “Suddenly Seeking Suomi,” which focuses on her cultural experience as a Fulbright faculty scholar.
BMCC Professor of English Cheryl J. Fish was a Fulbright professor in North American Studies at the University of Tampere in Finland in 2007, where she researched film by indigenous Sami artists addressing social and environmental justice in their villages. This work led to her widely published essays on environmental activism in contemporary American fiction and Sami film projects, as well as a novel-in-progress, Off the Yoga Mat, which features a main character experiencing sisu (perseverance despite setbacks) in Finland. Professor Fish regularly returns to Finland and Scandinavia, and as part of the Finnish Fulbright Alumni group in the U.S., she takes pleasure in showing Finnish grantees around New York City.
BMCC’s future Fulbright applicants
“I encourage my colleagues and graduating seniors to consider the Fulbright experience for professional and personal growth,” says Professor Wiseman. “Consider applying to teach or research in a new country! Review FFSB policy for further guidance.”
In addition, she recommends that potential applicants check the following links: Application Guidelines: including sample project statements; Review Criteria: to inform the various components of the application, and Outreach Events: a calendar of conferences, workshops, and webinars.
- BMCC faculty including Professors Cynthia Wiseman, Elizabeth Whitney and Cheryl Fish have held Fulbright scholarships
- They have exchanged ideas and research in Finland, Vietnam and other countries
- Academic collaborations extend beyond the Fulbright trip