HBCUs Achieve Strategic Goals Through Fulbright Scholar Awards

Two women and two men standing in front of staircase

Jackson State University, Tuskegee University, and Delaware State University were among the 2023 Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders. Their engagement with the Fulbright Program demonstrates how the Fulbright Scholar Awards can provide a springboard for international research partnerships and networks. Fulbright thus expands the global reach of U.S. higher education by sending faculty and administrators abroad through the U.S. Scholar Program, and bringing international faculty to U.S. campuses through the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program. These exchanges not only advance the careers of the individuals who participate, but also benefit the colleges and universities by helping them achieve their research goals and internationalize their campus. (View a full list of Fulbright programs)

Participating in the Fulbright Program supports these universities and their professors’ research, teaching, and career development. Jackson State University’s Acting President Elayne Hayes-Anthony, Ph.D., said that “These benefits contribute to their growth as faculty members, as well as to Jackson State's academic and globalization goals. Partnering with Fulbright helps advance our strategic goals of student success, academic prominence, and research excellence."

Provost Dr. S. Keith Hargrove at Tuskegee University in Alabama also describes how the Fulbright Program ensures that the university remains “an HBCU that maintains a strong community of global scholars” by “supporting this kind of academic brilliance.”

Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University and Chair of the President’s Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, emphasizes the ways that U.S. faculty members can use their talents abroad. He stressed the reciprocal benefits to DSU faculty members as well as the host universities and communities that welcome Fulbright U.S. Scholars. “Our partnership with Fulbright demonstrates the important need for diverse, inclusive expertise wherever it’s needed in the world,” Dr. Allen said.

By recognizing the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders and highlighting participants, the State Department aims to inspire other HBCUs to access valuable Fulbright opportunities. The following examples illustrate just a few of the ways that faculty participation in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and hosting Fulbright Visiting Scholars can advance the HBCUs’ strategic goals of establishing research partnerships and internationalizing their curriculum.

Jackson State University: Enriching the Campus Culture, Students and Curriculum

Dr. Hayes-Anthony said she is excited by JSU’s Fulbright U.S. Scholars who return home to Mississippi from their grant experiences abroad to enrich the campus culture, students, and curriculum.

In 2022, three JSU faculty members received Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards. Dr. Amal Mitra went to India to conduct research on the mental health needs of adolescents; Dr. Kofi Barima went to Jamaica to research Caribbean culture, and Dr. Ali Abu-El Humos went to Jordan to explore wireless communications strategies in developing Middle Eastern countries. Upon the completion of their Fulbright Programs, these faculty members were able to recruit graduate students to JSU, provide high quality mentorship programs for JSU junior faculty, and develop study abroad programs as a result of their expanded Fulbright networks.

Screenshot of President Elayne Hayes-Anthony video
View video: President Elayne Hayes-Anthony, Ph.D. discusses how Fulbright advances Jackson State University’s strategic goals and benefits students, faculty, and the JSU community.

Tuskegee University: Supporting Academic Excellence with a Community of Global Scholars

The relationships that Tuskegee professors develop by teaching in another country or hosting Fulbright Visiting Scholars in their labs and classrooms build international research networks.

Dr. David McKenzie, the director of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and department of Clinical Sciences at Tuskegee, went to Ghana as a 2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar, and returned with a signed agreement with the Ghanian university and two research scholars who intend to come to Alabama to advance their research. As a professor of large animal medicine and surgery, public health, and international medicine, having the opportunity to make these connections across communities in the United States and Ghana was an important step both for his career and for Tuskegee’s long-term relationships abroad.

Over the past three years, three academics from Nigeria have come to Tuskegee as Fulbrighters to do research with Dr. Clayton Yates, an internationally recognized scholar and leader at the university’s Carver Center for Biomedical Research.

Campuses that want to engage with the Fulbright Scholar Program appoint Fulbright Scholar Liaisons, who provide advice to faculty and administrator applicants. Dr. Rhonda Collier, the director of Tuskegee’s global office, who also serves as a Fulbright Program Advisor to Fulbright U.S. Student applicants, assists the faculty and students who go on to represent Tuskegee around the globe.

Dr Rhonda Collier sitting at table in restaurant with group of people.

Dr. Collier’s enthusiasm for promoting the Fulbright Program comes from her own experience making lifelong connections as a Fulbrighter in Brazil, and, more recently, she took part in an International Education Administrators Seminar in Taiwan. She said that Fulbright helps Tuskegee’s faculty and graduating students to pursue international research that leads to a web of professional networks both in the United States and abroad.

“In recent years, we've had the privilege of witnessing faculty and student Fulbright recipients proudly representing Tuskegee University on the global stage," Dr. Collier said.

Delaware State University: Serving Beyond Borders

President Tony Allen is proud of Delaware State University’s representation of its faculty as part of Fulbright’s worldwide mission, and says that this is reflective of Delaware State’s willingness to educate and serve far beyond the borders of the United States. DSU had a number of faculty members whose research and teaching have been shaped by their Fulbright experience.

Dr. Constant Beugré of DSU’s College of Business, previously taught entrepreneurship as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana where he also helped establish a business incubator and conducted research on “Fostering Entrepreneurial Eco-Systems in sub-Saharan Africa.”  Several years later, Dr. Beugré (second from right in the photo above) played a key role in developing a new initiative to train entrepreneurs in Uganda through the DSU College of Business’ Global Entrepreneurship Education Initiative.

DSU is also home to French professor Dr. Ladji Sacko, a two-time Fulbright Scholar selectee who taught English in Dakar, Senegal, and trained Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in secondary schools in Côte d'Ivoire and English professor Odun Balogun, who has lectured on American Literature and Culture in Nigeria.

Group of people standing in-between research exhibition posters

Two DSU professors went to India in 2022 to share their expertise and build connections in their fields. Dr. Nandita Das taught Portfolio Management and Security Analysis in India with a U.S. Scholar Award. Dr. Kalpalatha Melmaiee was selected for the Fulbright Specialist Program to India, where she shared her knowledge of crop improvement research with researchers, faculty, and students. Her research on advanced genomics will help the drought prone state of Tamil Nadu to develop drought resistant crops and advance food security for their population.

Dr. Kevina Vulinec went to Brazil’s tropical rainforest as a Fulbrighter to teach and conduct research on seed-dispersing bats, and has since written many scholarly articles in the fields of biodiversity and conservation. Later, as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, she traveled to higher education institutions throughout the United States to talk about her Fulbright experiences and share information about the program.

Each of these professors have gone on to advance the university’s research networks and offered valuable international perspectives to their colleagues and students back home at Delaware State University.

Group of Fulbright alumni standing in front of staircase.
Delaware State University’s Fulbright Scholar alumni (l-r) Dr. Ladji Sacko, Dr. Kevina Vulinec, Dr. Constant Beugré, Dr. Nandita Das, and Dr. Kalpalatha Melmaiee.

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