News
Jul 29, 2015

FVCC Staffer Completes Fulbright Mission in Japan

College to Host Lecture August 6

Gerda Reeb, Ph.D., was one of 10 American delegates selected to participate in the 2015 Fulbright International Education Administrator Program in Japan. FVCC was the only U.S. community college represented on the mission.
Gerda Reeb, Ph.D., was one of 10 American delegates selected to participate in the 2015 Fulbright International Education Administrator Program in Japan. FVCC was the only U.S. community college represented on the mission.

Flathead Valley Community College’s International Student Services Program Coordinator Gerda Reeb, Ph.D., recently returned from a Fulbright mission in Japan where she learned about the country’s higher education system and its efforts to attract more international faculty, researchers and students.

 

Established in 1946 by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program sends U.S academics and professionals overseas and brings scholars and professionals from abroad to the United States.

 

Reeb was one of 10 American delegates selected by Fulbright to participate in the 2015 International Education Administrator Program in Japan. FVCC was the only community college represented on the mission. The other nine participants were from four-year academic institutions, including University of California-Berkeley, University of North Carolina and University of Nevada.

 

“I feel extremely honored to have been awarded the opportunity to represent FVCC on this prestigious mission,” said Reeb. “Fulbright awards are extremely competitive, and FVCC’s participation alongside major U.S. universities really puts us on the map and testifies to the respect and credibility our small rural school has gained in American academia.”

 

Gerda Reeb, Ph.D., stands in front of the Miyajima World Heritage Site.
Gerda Reeb, Ph.D., stands in front of the Miyajima World Heritage Site.

The Japanese government recently launched a 10-year campaign to encourage the country’s leading universities to internationalize their campuses. Forty-two universities were awarded government grants to fund campus-wide internationalization strategies, increase the number of foreign faculty and faculty exchanges and recruit more overseas students in an effort to boost their international status.

 

During their two-week mission, Reeb and the other Fulbright delegates visited the Ministry of Education, six universities, Japan’s largest recruitment company and other key stakeholders in Japan’s academic landscape. They heard from dozens of Japanese administrators, educators and students about the opportunities and challenges facing their higher education system. Students from the Hiroshima Shudo University accompanied the delegation to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Miyajima World Heritage Site.

 

Reeb will give a free public presentation about her experiences in Japan on August 6 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Board Room inside Blake Hall on the college’s Kalispell campus.

 

“My intent is to disseminate some of the insights I have gained into the Japanese education system and raise awareness about opportunities to cooperate with Japanese institutions,” said Reeb. “Montana has a Japanese sister province in Kumamoto, yet little is known about education abroad opportunities and student mobility across the ocean.”

 

As a result of the connections Reeb made at The University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Hiroshima Shudo University, Ritsumeikan University and the other higher education institutions she visited, FVCC students can look forward to new study-abroad opportunities in Japan in the coming years. In addition, FVCC has the opportunity to gain more visibility on the international market, as well as tailor short-term English programs for Japanese students.

 

“Similar to prevalent trends in U.S. higher education, the Japanese higher education system is very keen on producing globally-competent graduates who have the necessary skills to succeed in an increasingly globalized economy,” said Reeb.

 

In addition to the Reeb’s Fulbright International Education Administrator award, FVCC has received two other Fulbright awards this year. In August, FVCC will welcome a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from China. Zi Qingfeng will spend a year in the Flathead Valley and will teach beginning Mandarin courses at FVCC, as well as share cultural information with local business and community leaders.  FVCC also will welcome Anderson Viana Carvalho, a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Brazil, who will spend a year teaching in the college’s Continuing Education program as well as assisting with FVCC’s US-Brazil Connect Program. Both Fulbright Scholars will deliver educational programs about their native countries.

 

The purpose of the Fulbright Program is to promote international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science. The governments of Japan and the United States signed an agreement to establish an educational exchange program between the two countries in 1951, and with funding from the U.S. Government, Japan-U.S. Educational Commission was established the following year.

 

For more information, contact Reeb at 756-3889 or greeb@fvcc.edu