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Dr. Caryn Voskuil participated in educational seminars in Paris and Bordeaux, France, thanks to a Fulbright Award.

​Contact: Alex Lyda

For immediate release — Nov. 12, 2019

(DALLAS) — Dr. Caryn Voskuil of Richland College has received a Fulbright Award to France through the Fulbright International Education Administrators program run by the U.S. State Department. Her selection allowed her to participate in educational seminar activities in Bordeaux and Paris last month.

As the associate dean of humanities, fine and performing arts at Richland, Dr. Voskuil has worked in areas of teaching, program management, curriculum development, gender issues and cross-cultural education. Recently, she started exploring a remote online foreign exchange program that allows students who have an interest in other cultures to experience them virtually as part of their academic journey.

The area she has been actively pursuing lately, and which she further explored in France, allows for learning exchange opportunities to be arranged between classrooms in the United States and in foreign countries. The aim is to introduce students to new cultures and perspectives in a way that offers a profound and engaging global experience for students by using technology.

“Study abroad is still the gold standard; however, when financial or family obligations require a student to stay in one place, as is the case with so many students at Richland and across the district, the idea that they can have that experience remotely is very appealing,” she said.

Dr. Voskuil presented the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) model, which was developed by the State University of New York in 2006, to facilitate highly effective, cost-saving, measurable global learning opportunities to internationally curious students. A COIL learning environment uses innovative technology to integrate global learning into the curricula of students who may be “place- or time-bound.”

Dr. Caryn Voskuil (left) has been exploring a remote online foreign exchange program that allows students who have an interest in other cultures to experience them virtually as part of their academic journey.

Voskuil currently is facilitating a COIL project at Richland that connects students in her humanities course with university students in Shenzhen, China. Plans for further collaborations with France and other countries are in the planning stages, and other faculty at Richland have expressed interest in participating in these types of exchanges.

Stops on Dr. Voskuil’s French schedule included the Sorbonne and more than a dozen public universities across Paris, where she interacted with academicians not unlike those across the district: a diverse group of educators determined to break down barriers to education for all, at little or no cost.

As far as applying and winning the administrator award, said Voskuil: “People anticipate this is harder than it actually is, and so one reason I’m very proud to have received the award is to show other administrators that the State Department has had this track for administrators for the past seven years now. But to earn the award, you first have to apply,” she added.

Dr. Voskuil has served in advisory and management roles on a number of education projects in conflict and post-conflict settings in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Bosnia-Herzegovina. She also has experience in Switzerland, the UAE and China. She has worked on projects in gender awareness and cultural education aimed toward development of civil societies with international organizations such as UNESCO.

“Now more than during any other period in my lifetime, the United States seems to be at a turning point in which the values of open-mindedness, diversity and tolerance of difference are being challenged,” Dr. Voskuil said. “If we hope to educate all students as global citizens, then we must give them the tools, such as COIL, and experiences they need in order to be successful.”

Dr. Voskuil is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who are teaching, conducting research and/or providing expertise abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected based on academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

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