Dr. Jim McDonald, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Southern Utah University, has made the great voyage to ‘Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie (EGE Rabat) in Rabat, Morocco as a Fulbright Specialist to act as a consultant and a specialist and will live in the historic country for six weeks.
SUU’s second Fulbright Specialist, McDonald 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 J. William Fulbright, was envisioned to expand participation of the many prolific U.S. scholars and professionals in academic exchanges, boost activities that go beyond the core of Fulbright research, and amplify connections between U.S. and non-U.S. institutions.
And that is exactly what McDonald will be doing during his time in Morocco.
While in Morocco, McDonald described that we will act as the resident cultural anthropologist teaching Americanist anthropology, specifically comparing the culture of the Mayans in Guatemala (his area of expertise) to the Moroccan indigenous people, the Berbers.
This comparative assessment will allow McDonald to be a guest lecturer in classes at EGE Rabat. On top of instructing classes, McDonald will also work with EGE Rabat faculty and staff as a consultant to study their pedagogical weaknesses.
McDonald went on to say that even though he will be acting as a specialist to the Moroccan university it is he that will benefit the most from this exchange.
“It is so important as an academic to receive this kind of rich, ethnic experience,” McDonald said. “Whenever our universities enter into a cross cultural experience both parties leave enriched and invigorated. And that’s the essence of the Fulbright Specialist program, to give yourself, your home institution and the guest institution a relationship that will continue to grow long after I leave.
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.
Since it’s conception, 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.
Specialists are allotted two exchanges during the five years they are given the recognition. This is McDonald’s first exchange and will begin making other travel arrangements after returning from Morocco.