UTSA earns prestigious Fulbright HSI award for commitment to diversity, research excellence
UTSA has been named a Fulbright HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) Leader by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). This designation recognizes the university’s noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.
UTSA is one of 43 HSIs to earn this elite designation, which honors the institution’s success in helping students and faculty benefit from a variety of Fulbright opportunities during the 2021-2022 academic year. The designation exemplifies UTSA’s deep commitment to international exchange and to building lasting connections between the U.S. and other countries, noted U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in a congratulatory letter to UTSA President Taylor Eighmy.
UTSA’s inclusion in the program is representative of its commitment to purposefully implement policies, practices and systems to accelerate the success of Latinos and other underrepresented communities, noted Eighmy.
“The Fulbright Program provides universities in the United States with so many opportunities to engage with academic communities worldwide.”
“As a Hispanic Serving University, the Fulbright Program is crucial to our mission to advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts among traditionally underserved, underrepresented minority constituencies,” added Eighmy. “The Fulbright programs are essential to ensuring that more Roadrunners benefit from opportunities for sponsored scholarship and independent research.”
“The Fulbright Program’s success with HSIs is built on real collaboration with these institutions,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs Ethan Rosenzweig. He commended the 2022 Fulbright HSI Leaders for sharing their “expertise, experience, perspective and enthusiasm with their institutions, their communities and their societies.”
Among the programs offered at UTSA is the Fulbright Student Program, which provides graduating college seniors, graduate students and young professionals with the opportunity to teach English, earn funding for graduate programs abroad or conduct independent research in any of more than 140 countries with funding from the student program.
UTSA is currently home to nine faculty members who are Fulbright U.S. Scholar award recipients. The program allows American faculty the opportunity to teach, conduct research and lead related professional projects in over 130 countries.
These programs offer a world of experience to its participants, who, in turn, serve as ambassadors for UTSA. They are the proof that our HSI R1 university cares deeply about global issues, said Jill Fleuriet, anthropology professor and associate dean of the UTSA Honors College.
The experience that UTSA provides—its emphasis on student development, experiential learning and classroom-to-career opportunities—these are the assets that make a Fulbright scholar, Fleuriet continued.
She added, “I am delighted by the success of our students, but I am not surprised.”
“The Fulbright Program provides universities in the United States with so many opportunities to engage with academic communities worldwide, whether it be in the form of our students, faculty and staff traveling abroad or by welcoming visitors to UTSA,” said Andrew Chapman, assistant dean of the UTSA Honors College.
Chapman also serves as the director of the UTSA Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, supporting students in their pursuit of prestigious opportunities such as the Fulbright awards.
“In just the past four years, more students have received Fulbright awards to travel abroad  than UTSA had in its first 45 years,” he noted.
Numbers, however, are not the only factor that the ECA takes into account when awarding the Fulbright HSI Leader designation, Chapman added.
“The State Department reviewed all types of engagement, so HSI Leaders were selected based on a number of factors, including active advising and liaising with students and scholars, hosting visiting students and scholars, and scholars-in-residence,” he said.
Since founding the Fulbright Program over 75 years ago, the ECA has given over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad, exchanging ideas, and contributing to finding solutions to complex international challenges. The ECA has designed and implemented a wide range of initiatives to increase participant diversity and inclusion. The program strives to ensure that its participants reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad.
“I hope we continue this success to promote Fulbright on the UTSA campus and support students through the application process, so that even more students can become involved in the program and all it has to offer,” Chapman said.
“We’ve known how committed and capable our students are,” Fleuriet said. “The Fulbright distinction demonstrates that to everybody else.”
A version of this story was published in UTSA Today. You can access this article via this link