Fulbright Gateway Orientation

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VCU hosts global scholars through Fulbright Gateway Orientation

By: Renee Russell
VCU Global Education Office
804-828-3636
vrrussell@vcu.edu

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VCU president Michael Rao, Ph.D. delivered the Fulbright Gateway Orientation official welcome Tuesday morning.

RICHMOND, Va. (Aug. 20, 2018) ― Virginia Commonwealth University proudly welcomed a special group of nearly 80 international Fulbright scholars to campus last week for the Fulbright Gateway Orientation program.

Organized by the Global Education Office, the orientation began Monday, Aug. 13 and closed Friday, Aug. 17. The program included three busy days of presentations, workshops, break-out sessions and networking activities.

“The Gateway Orientation at VCU builds on our strengths―our extensive experience preparing international scholars for study in new cultures and environments, our network of global colleagues and community members, and our faculty’s multi-disciplinary expertise,” said Amber Hill, Ph.D., director of international student and scholar programs in the Global Education Office.

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Nearly 80 international scholars were on campus for the Fulbright Gateway Orientation program.

“This program gives participants opportunities to build sustainable networks with each other, interact with a range of members of our community and prepare for academic practice in the U.S.,” she said. “The goal of all sessions and activities is to send the Fulbrighters to their destination universities ready to set and meet their goals.”

VCU president Michael Rao, Ph.D. delivered the program’s official welcome Tuesday morning and encouraged the scholars to think about the long-term impact they can make as a result of their experience in the program.

“This project is about you and how you can multiply your impact throughout the course of your life,” he said. “Commit to making a positive difference in the world, because that is what matters most.”

Rao also told the group that, despite VCU’s diversity, their presence fills the air with a perspective that we don’t have here.

Topics covered throughout the program included:

  • U.S. academic culture
  • U.S. politics and people
  • Cross cultural understanding and adjustment
  • Appropriate interpersonal relationships
  • Best practices in leadership
  • Local community action

Scholars engaged with the Richmond community through an artistic storytelling workshop hosted by Art 180, an evening reception with local business leaders and dinner with families in the Richmond area. Other activities were designed to help the Fulbright students connect, build a learning community and foster team spirit.

Presenters from VCU included professors and administrators from across the university, including:

  • Jill Blondin, Ph.D., interim executive director, Global Education Office
  • Sarah Carrier, academic advising coordinator, Global Education Office
  • Vennie Filippas, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate studies, School of Engineering
  • Rachel Gable, Ph.D., assistant director of VCU Globe
  • Jill Gordon, Ph.D. associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and professor, Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
  • Aron Lichtman, associate dean for research and graduate studies, School of Pharmacy
  • Ishneila Moore, director of employee relations and performance management, Office of Human Resources
  • Justin Moses, associate vice provost for student affairs
  • Alexandra Reckendorf, instructor and associate chair, Department of Political Science, College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Tammi Slovinsky, VCU deputy title IX coordinator for students
  • Jeff Wing, J.D., assistant dean, Honors College and director, National Scholarship Office

The program also included a tour of VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art.

This marks the fourth year that VCU has hosted the program, with previous orientations held in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

“We are thrilled to once again share our campus and city with incoming Fulbright scholars. So much has changed at VCU and in Richmond over the past four years and we’re excited to be able to share all of this with the group,” Hill said. “Richmond is an amazing place to be introduced to the U.S., and we’re glad that this is the first stop on their journey.”

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