Record number of Fulbright scholars on campus

Fulbright Group

UIC’s Fulbright scholars include visiting scholars and international students who have sponsorships in a variety of campus departments.

Bright minds from abroad are on campus — in record numbers.

UIC is a proud hosting institution for Fulbright, a program that sponsors participants in and outside of the U.S. to work and study internationally. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) awards 8,000 grants annually.

In past years, UIC has averaged five to seven participants, which include incoming scholars and master’s, doctoral or Ph.D. students. This year, the university welcomes three participants from the Visiting Scholar Program and 14 from the Foreign Student Program for a record-setting 17 incoming Fulbright participants.

The increase reflects UIC’s signature strengths.

“It speaks to the quality of academic areas where we’re hosting those students and scholars,” said Vice Provost for Global Engagement Neal McCrillis.

“People from around the world believe that it’s worth coming and learning things that they can take back to their countries,” added Nora Bonnin, senior director of the UIC Office of International Affairs.

The 2017-18 participants, who are from 11 different countries, have sponsorship in a variety of departments, from theatre and architecture to mathematics and biological sciences. In the English department, for example, one scholar is designing a syllabus for a writing course that will be offered at a Russian university. Working with the history department, another scholar will focus on a project about post-war labor migration.

“It’s a very diverse group,” said James Hammerschmidt, executive director of the Office of International Services and associate vice provost for global engagement.

Serving as a hosting institution also benefits UIC.

“The great thing about having visiting scholars and students is that they’re bringing in a vision and a set of experiences, a perspective, a way of attacking and looking at an issue that’s always different and that’s what we need,” McCrillis said.