Two of KSC’s Education Department faculty members, associate professors Shirley McLoughlin and Deborah Merchant, have been awarded Fulbright Scholar Grants for 2012 and 2013.
Having two Fulbright scholars in the same year gives KSC serious bragging rights, according to Sally Southwick, associate director of Sponsored Projects and Research. “These are highly competitive national awards,” she explained. “Only about 800 are awarded each year, and they’re very prestigious to receive. Having two Fulbright scholars in one year will get KSC in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual list of ‘top producers.’ For our size and Carnegie classification, two awards is considered a great achievement and one that generally only top-tier private institutions can claim. We now have close to 10 faculty members who have received Fulbright awards.”
Dr. Merchant will be heading to the University of Macedonia in Greece for the fall 2012 semester to conduct research to support curriculum development for training secondary special educators in Greece in the area of self-determination and transition planning for students with intellectual disabilities. She also expects to teach a seminar for master’s-level students in special education that addresses aspects of self-determination and transition in students with intellectual disabilities. “My goal is to gain and share knowledge and ideas on how to understand the nature of the strengths and challenges that students with intellectual disabilities face, and what it means for their lives as they go out into the world of work and life after school,” Dr. Merchant said. “The United States is ahead of most countries in special education and helping students with intellectual disabilities make these transitions. I believe that special education programs in Greece and the United States will benefit from exchanging information through the Fulbright Scholar Program.”
Dr. McLoughlin will travel to the Republic of Georgia for the spring 2013 semester to teach courses on curriculum theory and development, educational leadership, and perhaps one on teaching methodologies for educators of elementary-aged students. “Professionally, this really helps me work within areas of interest in my research,” Dr. McLoughlin explained. “I’ll gain first-hand experience collaborating with other educators from other cultures in examining how educational systems are developing and influencing students. As for Keene State, this opportunity provides a strong connection with another educational system abroad, and therein lies great potential for sharing our expertise, and perhaps developing sites for some of our own students to study abroad, while simultaneously providing opportunities for their students and/or faculty to visit/take classes/share their expertise with us at Keene State.”
The Fulbright Scholar Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Each year about 800 faculty and professionals in the United States visit 140 countries to share their knowledge, form connections, and conduct research.