Adjunct Award Winners: Fulbright Winner Off to Ireland

by Erin Zagursky

An adjunct professor in William & Mary’s School of Education will travel to Ireland to conduct research and teach for a year, thanks to a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant.

Shannon Chance will work in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) during the 2012-13 academic year, researching innovative ways to teach engineering and architecture and co-teaching architecture courses.

In her research, Chance (pictured left, in glasses) will interview engineering students and professors in order to assess the benefits of hands-on, problem-based learning. She will also study how DIT transformed its electrical engineering program.

Chance first visited DIT in 2003. At that time, she set a personal goal of going back one day to teach and conduct research there for a year. That goal prompted her to get her doctoral degree, which she completed at William & Mary in 2010. One year earlier, Associate Professor Pamela Eddy arrived at the William & Mary School of Education, following her own Fulbright experience in Ireland.

“That really helped set the wheels in motion for me,” said Chance in an e-mail. “She’s got so many connections there and is so enthusiastic about sharing what she knows of the place.”

But Chance has not waited to get to Ireland to begin her work. She has been doing groundwork studies with faculty at DIT for more than a year. They will present their work in Greece in September and will also publish an article in the Journal of Engineering Education.

“This is a huge breakthrough for me, and I can’t wait to kick this project into high gear when school starts at DIT in September,” she said.

Overall, Chance hopes that her work will help to establish a “first-class reputation in engineering and design education research.”

“I’ll start by publishing papers, helping teach and implement ideas while I’m in Dublin, and starting work on a book while I’m there,” she said.

Chance’s Fulbright experience will also benefit her work here at William & Mary. She has already been working with Assistant Professor Jim Barber on related research.

“He’s got grad students helping with analysis, and we presented that work at two recent conferences,” she said. “I hope this Fulbright experience will build upon and enhance the project I’m doing with Jim and help extend William & Mary’s contribution to research about how students learn — particularly engineering and design students.”

Chance is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-2013, according to a press release from the program.

The program, which operates in more than 155 countries, “is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,” the press release says.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected according to academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Non-tenured faculty are encouraged to apply.

The program, established in 1946, is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.



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