SUU’s First Fulbright Specialist Swaps Utah for Finland

Published: August 16, 2013 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Joining the ranks of notable government leaders and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners may seem out of reach for many, but not for Deb Hill, dean of Southern Utah University’s College of Education and Human Development.

Hill was given Fulbright Specialist status allowing her to venture to Oulu, Finland for six weeks to be a consultant and specialist at Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OUAS).

SUU’s first Fulbright Specialist, Hill is one of 400 U.S faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialist Program, housed within the United Stated Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

The Fulbright Specialist Program, as intended by its founder Senator Fulbright, is intended to “increase participation of leading U.S. scholars and professionals in academic exchanges, encourage new activities that go beyond the core of Fulbright activities of lecturing and research, and promote increased connections between U.S. and non-U.S. institutions.”

And that is exactly what Hill will be doing during her time in Finland.

While in Oulu, Hill stated she will teach pedagogy courses to undergraduates, add additional activities for students that will develop their teaching careers and collaborate with members of the education department by means of specific seminars on related topics. She will also provide OUAS with information on curriculum planning of integrated units of study, assessment of student learning outcomes and assessment of instructional pedagogy and other related topics.

Hill went on to say that she will be that one that will benefit the most from this exchange.

“Finland is known around the world for their excellent education system and I want to find out why. As soon as I get to Oulu, I am going to be in their schools seeing how I can better prepare SUU pre-service students and further enrich the public schools in Cedar City.”

The Fulbright Specialist Program was first conceived in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, providing short-term academic opportunities to prominent U.S. faculty and professional to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post-secondary, academic institutions around the globe.

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsor the Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity. Over its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the U.S. More than 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields. 

Selected based on academic and professional achievement, specialists are allotted two exchanges during the five years they are given recognition. This is Hill’s first exchange and she will be traveling again to Spain next year.

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