November 21, 2005
It is a pleasure to share information with you on the proceedings of the Fulbright Association’s 28th Annual Conference, “Connecting Fulbright Alumni: Achieving Global Results.” Fulbright alumni and program administrators from 17 countries and 41 U.S. states joined State Department colleagues at the conference, which concluded Nov. 13 in Baltimore, Md. The conference demonstrated the Fulbright Association’s singular role in convening alumni who represent diverse disciplines, all world regions, and varied Fulbright experiences. Conference highlights follow.
International Initiative Announced for 2006
The Fulbright Association and the Moroccan Fulbright Alumni Association (MFAA) announced that they will hold Fulbright alumni meetings in Marrakech from Nov. 3 through Nov. 7, 2006. The series will open with a welcoming reception on Nov. 3. With the support of the U.S. Department of State, a global Fulbright alumni technical assistance seminar will be held Nov. 4 for representatives of national Fulbright alumni associations and alumni groups that are developing associations. The U.S. Fulbright Association’s 29th annual conference will begin on the evening of Nov. 4 with the annual banquet and keynote speech. The 29th annual conference will conclude on Nov. 5. The MFAA conference, “Morocco in Western Art,” will be held Nov. 6 and 7.
The U.S. Department of State awarded the Fulbright Association a $15,000 challenge grant to be matched on a one-to-one basis to develop resources that will enable Fulbright alumni organizations abroad to improve their operations, increase their membership, and strengthen their support for the Fulbright Program. The State Department-supported initiative will produce a best practices manual, will engage alumni leaders in “Focused-Country Peer Assist” projects, and will culminate in the technical assistance seminar in Morocco in November 2006.
The International Initiatives session of the conference also featured greetings or reports from representatives of associations or
alumni groups in Chile, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Representatives from Armenia and Switzerland also attended the conference.
The U.S.-U.K. Liaison Project, a volunteer-driven mentoring program between the British Fulbright Scholars Association and the
U.S. Fulbright Association, also presented a report.
28th Keynote Speech Focuses on Technology Education
Christopher Nordlinger (Senegal 1982), senior manager of technology education programs at Cisco Systems, delivered the keynote address, “Closing the Gap: Stemming the Crisis in America’s Technology Education.”
Plenary Luncheon Address on Sculpture, Wind Choreography & the Urban Landscape
Sculptor Janet Echelman (India 1996) entranced her audience with an explanation of how she started her Fulbright experience as a painter and ended it as a sculptor. Slides of her commissioned work in locations throughout the world illustrated her odyssey, which begin in collaboration with local bronze-casters and fishermen in an Indian village.
2005 Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund Lecture
Richard Semmens, associate professor of music history at the Don Wright Faculty of Music of the University of Western Ontario, presented the lecture, “Moving Inside and Outside the Box: Thoughts on the Graphic Notation of Baroque Dances for the Ballroom.” Members of the audience, which included the chair of the Dance Department at Goucher College and several of her students, asked lively questions that related the lecture to other disciplines, including theater, architecture and sociology.
Conference panels brought together fascinating speakers who discussed important issues. A list of panel sessions follows:
Increasing Diversity in the Fulbright Program
Perceptions and Policies: How the World Views the U.S. Now
60 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Legacy and Future of Peace and Conflict Studies
Rats, Crows, and Rubbervines: Threats from Invasive Species
The State Alumni Global Community and Grant Program
Cultural Program at American Visionary Art Museum
In 1995, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger founded the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore to spotlight the work of self-taught artists outside the mainstream. Congress designated her vision a national museum, and it has won numerous awards. Ms. Hoffberger kindly welcomed Fulbrighters to the museum and led them on a tour of the current exhibition, “Race, Class, Gender ≠ Character.”
Chapter Development Seminar and Advocacy Sessions
Representatives from more than 20 Fulbright Association chapters participated in a session designed to help them recruit alumni participants and plan programs. The session also included information on planning and implementing grassroots advocacy projects.
Annual Business Meeting of Members
Fulbright Association conferences also include the annual business meeting of members. Led by President R. Fenton-May, the meeting presented information on elections to the Association’s Board of Directors and on the Association’s finances and plans for 2006.
Fulbright Association Task Forces
The Association’s International Education and Science and Environment Task Forces held a joint session at the conference where they learned about grant opportunities from representatives of the Council for International Exchange
The Arts Task Force session featured presentations from painter Mary-Louise Biasotti-Hooper, flutist Marie Kenote, visual artist Rose Powhatan, and theatre historian, actor and director Jeannie Woods.
We hope to see you over the months to come at a Fulbright Association chapter event or national program. We look forward to hearing from you and to your continued involvement in the global Fulbright network. With best regards.
Jane L. Anderson, CAE
Thursday, November 10th
12-7:30p Conference Registration
1-5:30p Chapter Seminar
5:30-7:30p Dinner on Your Own
7:30-9:30p Task Force Meetings
Friday, November 11th
8a-6p Conference Registration
9-11a International Initiatives
11:15a-12:15p Increasing Diversity in the Fulbright Program
12:15-1:45p Lunch on Your Own
2-3p Fulbright Program Advocacy Workshop
3-4p Annual Business Meeting of Members
4:15-5:45p Perceptions and Policies: How the World Views the U.S. Now
7-9:30p 28th Annual Banquet and Keynote Address
Saturday, November 12th
8:30a-5p Conference Registration
9-10:30a 60 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Legacy and Future of Peace and Conflict Studies
10:30-10:45a Coffee Break
10:45a-12:15p Rats, Crows, and Rubbervines: Threats from Invasive Species
12:30-2p Plenary Luncheon and Address—Sculpture and Wind Choreography: Changing the Urban Landscape
2:15-3:30p The State Alumni Global Community and Grant Program
3:30-4:30p 2005 Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund Lecture
Sunday, November 13th
8-9a Conference Registration
9:30a-12p Private Tour and Brunch at the American Visionary Art Museum
12p Conference Adjourned
Frostburg State University, a comprehensive, largely residential university located in western Maryland, offers an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees emphasizing arts and humanities, applied technologies, business, education, environmental studies, human services and social and behavioral sciences. The University, nationally recognized for its community service and leadership programs, is distinguished by an excellent and internationally-renowned faculty, dedicated staff and its vast cultural offerings to the communities of western Maryland and the region.
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), founded in 1826, is consistently ranked among the very top tier of visual arts colleges in the nation and enrolls approximately 1,500 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students from 45 states and 59 foreign countries. MICA offers programs of study leading to the BFA, MA, and MFA degrees, as well as post-baccalaureate certificate programs and a full slate of credit and noncredit courses for adults, college-bound students, and children. MICA is also recognized as an important cultural resource for the Baltimore/Washington region, sponsoring many public and community-outreach programs, including more than 100 exhibitions by students, faculty, and nationally and internationally known artists annually, as well artists’ residencies, film series, lectures,
readings, and performances.
Founded in 1866, today Towson University is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top public universities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Towson is nationally recognized for its programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business, education, communications, health sciences, and the fine and performing arts. The University places a strong emphasis on service learning and civic engagement through such activities as internships, practica, clinical placements, course assignments, and student events. As the Baltimore area’s largest university and Maryland’s Metropolitan University, Towson articulates its research and scholarship mission through partnerships that link the University to the economic, educational, and cultural life of the state of Maryland, the mid-Atlantic region, and strategically located international centers. Towson enrolls more than 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 64 undergraduate majors, 35 master’s programs, and four doctoral programs. Located on a rolling 328 acres, the striking campus is eight miles north of downtown Baltimore and 45 miles from Washington, D.C. The campus and its surrounding cities provide an excellent environment for teaching and supporting the academic pursuits of the 600 full-time faculty and over 1,000 staff members.
The University of Baltimore (UB) is an upper-division and graduate university located in the heart of the historic Mount Vernon cultural district of Baltimore. The University offers a comprehensive range of programs in business, applied liberal arts and law. A model for the engaged urban university, UB features unique academic programs that emphasize both the practical and the theoretical. Its expertise draws more than 5,000 students who are interested in starting careers, changing careers or simply expanding on their knowledge. The University offers flexible scheduling options, a passionate approach to teaching and learning by a faculty with hands-on experience and a vibrant network that extends from the city to locations across the country and around the globe. UB graduates are known as leaders in a wide range of professions, including the state and federal judiciary, politics, business, the arts and the high-tech industry.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is a historically-diverse, highly selective, public research university. A strong liberal arts and sciences core provides the foundation for the undergraduate educational experience. UMBC offers a complement of disciplinary and interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral programs with an emphasis on selected areas of science, engineering, information technology, human services, and public policy. As a Carnegie Foundation classified Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, UMBC is frequently a host of Fulbright Scholars and many of its faculty are proud to hold the designation as Fulbright Alumni. In addition, UMBC has developed institutional relationships with a number of distinguished universities around the world, including the University of Tokyo, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and the University of Bari in Italy, to name a few.
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a visionary institution on the forefront of education for the 21st-century workforce and committed to innovative academic delivery formats. The university serves over 88,000 students worldwide, and is recognized as a global leader in the fields of adult and online education. UMUC is the second-largest university in Maryland, and one of the 11 degree-granting institutions of the University System of Maryland. UMUC’s Office of Worldwide Faculty Recruitment (WFR) recruits adjunct faculty from all over the U.S. to teach online and from the greater Washington DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area for on-site classes. On-site classes meet evenings and weekends.
Kasetta Coleman grew up in inner city Philadelphia where the blight of drugs and gun violence, teen pregnancy and discouraging minimum wage jobs could crush a young spirit and the possibility of developing a real student with a passion and curiosity for learning. But Kasey—as she is called—dreamed high. She wanted to be a doctor. She attended Girls High School, one of the best public schools in Philadelphia. And she worked and she worked. And, in time, her hard work paid off.
Now try to imagine what a happy day it must have been that spring afternoon in Philadelphia when she received her acceptance letter from MIT.
It’s no surprise that Kasey took advantage of every opportunity that MIT presented—a major in chemical engineering, a minor in biotechnology, a concentration in Japanese. Her intellectual odyssey took her to the intersection of computer science, nanotechnology and biotechnology. The list of her activities that involved giving back to her community will make you dizzy. President of a dance company. Treasurer of the Black Students’ Union. Bioengineering researcher at a leading lab. Member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. As part of MIT’s Women’s Initiative, Kasey visited schools throughout the country meeting with high school students—especially girls—to encourage them to enter science and technology fields.
At MIT, the BAMIT McNair Award is given to MIT’s top African-American students. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Kasey won that one.
Kasey’s skills—science and technology skills—are hurdling her over any possible handicaps she might have faced as a young African-American woman in inner-city Philadelphia.
An education is transformative. A technology education even more so. Because it provides a much greater probability of earning a high income than other areas. Because it provides the only alternative for many rural Americans and many locked in urban poverty.
There’s a crisis in U.S. technology education. We don’t supply enough Americans to meet our demand. We need scientists and engineers today to innovate, to invent. And as technology becomes an even more central part of our world, we will need them 100 years from today. Isn’t it ironic, therefore, that, in the U.S., we choose to take for granted education—especially math, science and technology education. Especially when you consider how absolutely dependent we are on foreign technology workers for our economic and political security.
According to the Business Roundtable, 90 percent of the world’s engineers will be living in Asia by 2010.
Korea has one sixth of the U.S. population. Yet Korea has as many engineers as we do.
In case you don’t think innovation is vital to our economy, major economic studies show that 85 percent of economic growth stems from technological innovation.
U.S. tech firms readily import Indians to fill IT jobs they can’t fill with U.S. talent. And, while that, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, what happens if foreigners choose not to come to the U.S. to study or work? What if they choose to stay in India because the opportunities are attractive there? Believe me this is happening in India and in China.
Retiring baby boomers in IT positions cannot be backfilled fast enough with U.S. citizens because there are an insufficient number of Americans trained in science and technology. And in our critically important national research labs—the National Institutes of Health, Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and others—the situation is worse because the labs have to compete with private sector
salaries and benefits for the best talent.
Given the education gap between the people we need in our workforce and the available pool of American talent, how can we continue our economic leadership? How can we innovate our way to continued prosperity? How can we discover alternatives to foreign oil, systems for detecting and fighting biological and chemical weapons, or breakthrough cures to heart disease, cancer, AIDS, avian flu and a host of other modern maladies, if we have not adequately educated our children to grow up and be the scientists, doctors, researchers and technology professionals of tomorrow?
And why are we training our population so poorly for the jobs of the 21st century?
I want to explore with you tonight not just the problem of creating a 21st century technology workforce but a solution to that problem. A solution that involves you and me working together after tonight.
Lest you think I’m tilting at windmills here, let me throw out other voices.
Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, has argued famously about the crisis in science and engineering education in his column and in his book, The World is Flat. While he is mostly favorable to the forces of globalization, he notes that the U.S. is not prepared for the adjustments that will be necessary. He has noted a lack of national will to preserve our global economic strength—a quiet crisis in which, “we’d be talking about why the world is racing us to the top, not the bottom, and why we are
quietly falling behind.”
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates laments the throngs of Chinese technologists pumped out of Chinese educational institutions relative to our measly output. Not long ago, he told the nation’s governors that our public education system was “obsolete”.
Cisco CEO John Chambers stated, “The U.S. is falling behind in education. You look at China, and they will guarantee that 25 percent of their college students will graduate with a degree in the computer sciences. I think that’s the biggest challenge we face.”
Shirley Jackson, President of Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute and Chairperson, American Academy for the Advancement of Science, laments that “if we don’t do something soon and dramatic to reverse this ‘erosion’, we are not going to have the scientific foundation to sustain our high standard of living in 15 or 20 years.”
An excellent report from the National Academy of Science put out last month—a report that I will be talking about later—the Academy made clear that many young Americans do not know enough about science, technology or mathematics to understand or contribute to the evolving knowledge-based society. The best way to compete in the global economy is to ensure that American workers are “the best educated, the hardest-working, best trained, and most productive in the world.”
There are three fundamental explanations for the crisis I’ve described: American disinterest in studying science, engineering and math—what I call the technology disciplines, the failure of U.S. education in teaching these subjects, and foreign competition in the higher education market.
The plain fact is that Americans don’t want to study the tech disciplines. In fact, American graduates are avoiding these disciplines in droves. In droves. At the doctoral level where innovation is incubated, it is glaring. Last year alone, applications to doctoral programs in U.S. engineering schools dropped 22 percent. 22 percent in one year.
As you may know, foreign students are the backbone of many of our science and tech programs in higher education. They dominate engineering schools. Many of them come here to study and stay to work. They add diversity to our culture and strength to
However, last year, Indian applications to these American programs dropped 32 percent. Even worse, Chinese applications dropped a full 45 percent last year. In one year.
To compound American disinterest in science and engineering studies, there’s another reality. Our education system isn’t cutting it.
American students currently lead the world in science and math scores in fourth grade but drop to 19th place by the time they are in 12th grade. And we don’t even give our best to our best—the ones who are energized by the subjects. The ones who want to fill the education gap. We do have the best universities in the world. No doubt. But many educators insist that our best high school students stack up with any other high school students in the world. In the latest international data, when you compare our top 5 percent student achievers with the comparable group in leading countries, our kids come out 23rd of 29.
Doesn’t this makes Kasey Coleman and the Girls High School appear even more remarkable?
Perhaps the foundation of a high school curriculum needs to be rethought. The Gates Foundation and others think so and advocate significant changes for the system. Certainly there’s much to be said for smaller, more personalized and more specialized learning environments with students and teachers accountable for their performance. I strongly believe that—to aid teachers in their valuable missions—we need online assessment tools that closely and frequently monitor students’ performance so they are not left behind.
On top of American distinterest in science and technology studies, on top of poor performance by even our best in science and technology studies, globalization threatens American higher education. And the U.S. government and our higher education community need to wake up to what globalization has delivered.
Certainly one explanation for the reduced number of Indians and other foreign applicants last year is found in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Due to new security checks, it is more difficult for foreigners to study here. And while processes are improving and application numbers aren’t down as much this year, they are down.
More importantly, it’s given an opening to our educational competitors. It’s only a matter of time before universities abroad reduce the dominance of U.S. universities in providing the best science and technology programs.
While we’re captive to Wall Street’s judgment of quarterly returns, societies like China and India are focused on creating change over time. Call it the wisdom of ancient civilizations who understand the long-term.
As a result, they have been training both the elite innovators and the everyday-knowledge workforce for a rosy tomorrow. They have been creating top-flight science and engineering programs to educate their students at home.
In fact, China has increased the number of people with undergraduate and doctoral degrees fivefold. Not in fifty years. Not in thirty years. But in ten years. Fivefold in ten years!
Working to educate Cisco’s partners globally on our technologies, I travel abroad and have seen the massive spike in tech degree programs not only in Asia but in the European Union. These countries have recognized something vital in the economic equation that we can’t seem to understand. They understand the pure transformative power of education. And that, my friends, that’s not rocket science.
Now let’s talk about solutions.
Do we have the political will to deal with the problem I’ve outlined? Do we have the leadership?
President John F. Kennedy’s promise in 1963 to land a man on the moon by decade’s end spawned the space program. The computer revolution was a byproduct of research from the government investment in Apollo and all the research and technology that came after it. The Apollo space program brought the best in class of government, business, and academia together to drive our space success. The 1958 successful Soviet launch of the first satellite, Sputnik, spooked us enough to launch the Apollo. Maybe we need a new Sputnik. I’d argue Sputnik is here. It just happens to be a quiet Sputnik. Sputnik is visible in our math scores compared to the rest of the world. While we’re busy dreaming of being Paris Hilton or the next American Idol, the bearers of the new Sputnik are being kids, too. But they’re doing it while they’re tackling science, computers, engineering and math studies as tickets to a future of opportunity.
There are some outstanding efforts on the part of certain states—Virginia, Massachusetts and Texas—to name a few. And certain foundations are working hard on this issue–the Gates Foundation that I mentioned previously is doing outstanding work in
There are elements of the business community already doing some substantive work. I think the Cisco Networking Academy program that I was lucky enough to help expand is a significant contribution by my company. I believe Intel’s contributions through its scholarships, its much-praised science fair and other education efforts are to be greatly applauded.
But without a national education imperative in Washington, it’s going to be up to business to show national leadership on this issue.
In short, the business community needs to step up to a much larger commitment, realizing its critical role in this historical moment. I don’t care whether it’s the tech community, the Fortune 500 or a much broader group, the business community needs to commit to a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar technology education initiative.
We’ve got to double the number of graduates in math, science, engineering, and technology within 15 years, quadrupling them within 20 years. If the federal and state governments joined in this business-led initiative with “real” money, then this could become an Apollo program that provides for the nation’s economic future.
And it must turn out quantity at the same time improving quality. We need more technologists and we need them to be better-trained coming out of America’s high schools. That’s why we need the substantial Federal investment to ensure success.
Understand that this initiative would have the side benefit of restoring health to the anachronistic public-education system.
And as one engineering job generally creates three nonengineering jobs, job creation and innovative new technologies would also result.
Not bad for indirect benefits.
While the business initiative is vital, it’s not here today so let’s talk about what you can do to help solve this problem. Tonight. After you leave this room.
I’m not here to pronounce a magic formula. There are a lot of people a lot smarter than I working on this issue. And it just so happens that they are working with the National Academy of Science in Washington. They’re called the Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy for the 21st century. A group of our top scientists have teamed with industry leaders like Norman Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, and Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel and a host of others including Nobel winners to develop a blueprint for fixing the problem I’ve outlined. The group has surveyed the landscape on what’s been done successfully. They provide hard data to back up what activities are successful.
Now they are busy trying to convince Congress and the White House that this blueprint should be adopted.
But you in this room don’t have to wait for Washington.
Education promises hope and opportunity to the next generation. In the case of losing our innovative edge globally, we need to honor that promise more than ever.
I posted highlights of the National Academies’ report on my website. I invite you to go to thepromiseofeducation.com, and read this report. In it you will find a set of recommendations for many things but the ones I want to address with you are the K-12 ideas. These are detailed and even include budgetary breakdowns so you can understand what it would cost to implement one of these proven, successful interventions in one school or a whole state.
I ask you to pick just one. Leave this room tonight and commit to fighting for that one—whether it’s with a needy elementary school in your community, the whole school district, your state or your representatives in Washington.
Send me email and tell me what works and what didn’t. I can be contacted off thepromiseofeducation.com, and I will be creating a best practices area there so that we can take what’s known to work and through a grassroots effort get the kind of Sputnik-like attention we need to launch this new Apollo program. It may take a grassroots movement to get Washington to understand this quiet Sputnik. But our future economic and political viability depend upon it.
Let me conclude with one more story.
Tony McCloskey was born blind. But Tony wanted to be an engineer. He studied math and science and engineering through Braille textbooks and lectures. He worked hard and got a degree in electrical engineering. When Tony wanted to get a new technical degree, he used software that reads aloud text documents. To see Tony breeze through that program with A’s must have been quite humbling and, at the same time, inspirational.
Tony’s information technology position in a healthcare services company must have been incredibly rewarding after all the challenges he overcame. His skills—technology skills—hurdled him over his handicap. And coincidentally, he used technology to get around his handicap.
Together, you and I can find ways to grow more Kasey Colemans and more Tony McCloskeys. If we give the disadvantaged a route to opportunity, then we will be altruistically giving them a route to hope. We’ll also be showing the great majority of students that they shouldn’t take education, especially technology education, for granted. We’ll share the uplifting, income-producing promise of technology education with our rural American populations as well as with inner-city disadvantaged. We’ll demonstrate to them the substantive alternative to low-wage jobs that students in similar environments from Bangalore to Dublin understand.
At the same time, we will be solving our 21st century job shortage problem, reenergizing innovation as the bedrock of our economy, and we will be fulfilling the promise of education.
The New York Times stated in a September editorial that, “The United States can still prosper in a world where its labor costs are higher than the competition’s, but it cannot do that if the cheaper workers abroad are also better educated.”
Be part of the solution. Let’s use this technology of the Internet to empower our students and to solidify America’s innovation underpinnings. Don’t we owe that to our children and our children’s children? Don’t we owe that to our parents and our immigrant forebearers who came here to live the American dream? Let’s fight to build this better world. Isn’t that part and parcel of how we repay our debt for the great, world-opening opportunity that Fulbright provided to us?
Where will the conference take place?
The conference will be held at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel in the heart of downtown Baltimore. Hotel reservations can be made online or by calling Radisson Reservations.
Online Reservations: To make your hotel reservations online, please use the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore web site. When making your reservation, be sure to enter FULB in the “Promotional Code” field to receive the special room rate available to conference participants.
Telephone Reservations: To make your hotel reservations by telephone, please call Radisson Reservations at (800) 333-3333. Please be sure to mention that you’re with the Fulbright Association so that you receive our great room rates.
What are the great room rates?
The Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel is offering Fulbright Association conference participants one of two great rates:
Free internet access is included with all rooms.