Texas A&M University’s commitment to international scholarship and global engagement can be traced back nearly to the institution’s land grant launch in 1876. In the ensuing years, Texas A&M has increasingly expanded its global impact to include research on every continent and to welcome international students and scholars from more than 120 countries. The university has celebrated one or more faculty U.S. Fulbright Scholars every year since 1949 and has hosted 55 visiting scholars since 2014.
While the number of Texas A&M students and faculty awarded Fulbright opportunities has been steady over the years, the university is increasing efforts across the board to support and encourage involvement and also pair Fulbright alumni with prospective Fulbrighters.
A comprehensive approach based in the Texas A&M University Office of Public Partnership and Outreach now links prospective, current and alumni Fulbrighters together with undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members. Unified workshops share information about the application process, the Fulbright experience and ways to continue connecting when the Fulbright grant concludes.
“We launched a central point of contact across our large university of 69,000 students in order to support the complete Fulbright experience and boost the positive impact our students and faculty can have around the globe,” said Traci Lacy, Associate Director of Partnership Services. “We created an annual Fulbright workshop and reception that invites visiting scholars, Fulbright grant recipients, and anyone interested in applying to come together and share information, experiences or questions about this incredible opportunity.”
At the faculty level, the coordination is anchored in part by a Global Engagement Plan, with a goal of elevating faculty as global leaders by enhancing support for Fulbright applications and submissions for other prestigious awards.
“The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides a unique and essential experience for faculty,” said Dr. Heather Wilkinson, Associate Dean of Faculties. “The Office of the Dean of Faculties is supporting involvement in the program in a variety of ways, including helping to elevate the awareness of faculty to the opportunities for development leave in support of Fulbright grants.”]
The Office of Undergraduate Studies is connecting students with Fulbright opportunities via LAUNCH, a collaboration of six teams working together to support students, faculty and staff across Texas A&M University. LAUNCH: National Fellowships assists Texas A&M students with Fulbright applications and hosts informational workshops. The efforts are augmented by a staff member who is a current Fulbright U.S. Student Alumni Ambassador. LAUNCH also coordinates with the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies to conduct information sessions about the history and mission of the Fulbright Program, the application process and best practices for putting forward a successful application.
The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies created an initiative to increase applications for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program by 100 percent, supplementing the effort with information sessions—including testimonials from former Fulbright students—and one-on-one writing workshops aimed at enhancing student applications for Fulbright grants. Graduate Studies also established resource channels for Fulbright resources across all of Texas A&M’s academic colleges to help emphasize a personalized Fulbright culture.
In addition to these initiatives, the university coordinates outreach and support with the Fulbright Student’s Association and an active Brazos Valley Chapter of the Fulbright Association for alumni.
Texas A&M University’s coordinated Fulbright activities for faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and alumni are serving Texas A&M’s mission to maximize global impact and increase involvement in this world class program for international scholarship and service.
-Brandon V. Webb, Texas A&M University, Office of the Provost