Ag Professor Carlson Selected for Fulbright Award to Russia
April 5, 2012
MACOMB, IL – John Carlson, a professor in Western Illinois University's School of Agriculture, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar by the William J. Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The prestigious Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. According to the Fulbright website, it is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.
Carlson will spend August through December teaching at the Ryazan State Agrotechnological University in Russia, located in Ryazan, which is approximately 126 miles southeast of Moscow.
"I'll be teaching two sections of a course in international agriculture, which covers agricultural development and world hunger problems. The material compares different countries for types of production. Right now at the Ryazan State Agrotechnological University, they don't have a course like that," Carlson explained. "They need this subject matter in their curriculum, as they continue the process of moving into a free-market world economy. I will be teaching with some of their instructors, so the course will become a permanent part of their curriculum when I leave."
Carlson also said that during his time teaching in Russia, he will be using Western pedagogy in higher education.
"This will include using the Internet in lectures, more student in-class presentations and providing the students with written exams, as opposed to oral examinations, which is the way many students are currently assessed in Russia. By being more familiar with this type of pedagogy, Russian students will be better prepared to study in the U.S. and European countries in the future," he said.
Carlson has worked with farmers and agricultural institutions in Russia since 1994. He has served as a consultant to livestock producers and worked on projects fostering the emerging Russian market for U.S. agricultural markets. He has also been involved in teaching agricultural business and marketing at the university level in Russia, and, over the years, he has led many Western Illinois University students on study abroad programs in Russia.
According to the Fulbright website, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
"Today, Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, supported for more than half a century by the American people through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations. The program—working with universities, schools, binational Fulbright commissions, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector—actively seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who represent the full diversity of their respective societies and selects nominees through open, merit-based competitions. From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which other countries and governments work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs," states the Fulbright website.
In Carlson's award letter, Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board Chair Tom Healy noted that recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership in their fields. He also said that Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics, and 43 Fulbright alumni have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.
Upon his return, Carlson will compose a report, as required by the Fulbright Award program, which will detail his experiences during the Fulbright Scholar stint at Ryazan State Agrotechnological University. He will also be able to share his work in person via presentations to local community organizations.
According to Carlson, the WIU Office of Sponsored Projects informed him about, and encouraged him to apply to, the Fulbright Scholar Program. The process involved an online application, an essay involving details of the project he plans to implement, and references from colleagues, he said.
"If other faculty members are interested in applying, I encourage them to visit the Fulbright site and review the instructions and information they provide about the application process. I also participated in several webinars that were very helpful," he noted.
For more information about the Fulbright program, visit fulbright.state.gov. Learn more about the WIU Office of Sponsored Projects at www.wiu.edu/sponsored_projects/. Visit Western's School of Agriculture online at www.wiu.edu/ag.