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Curtis Selected for AIEA Presidential Fellows Program, Attends Fulbright Seminar

Published: December 15, 2009

Kenneth Curtis, assistant vice president of International Education and Global Engagement at CSULB, has been selected to participate in the 2009-10 President’s Fellows Program of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA).

AIEA is a membership organization composed of institutional leaders engaged in advancing the international dimensions of higher education. The goals of the association are to provide an effective voice on significant issues within international education at all levels, improve and promote international education programming and administration within institutions of higher education, establish and maintain a professional network among international education institutional leaders, and cooperate in appropriate ways with other national and international groups having similar interests.

The Presidential Fellows Program provides participants with opportunities to observe firsthand how experienced senior international officers and their institution address educational challenges and solve problems, as well as learn about national and international issues affecting the individual campuses. As part of the 2009-10 program, Curtis will be mentored by Bruce Sillner, dean of International Programs at State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz. Curtis will also receive a stipend of $1,500 to defray travel costs and other related expenses.

Along with designing a plan of action regarding a specific issue related to international education, Curtis will visit the SUNY New Paltz campus in April, where he will shadow Sillner, learn about the campus’ policies, politics and procedures, and may participate in senior level decision-making meetings. In return, Sillner will be available to Curtis throughout the academic year for consultation and advice.

At the end of the year, Curtis must submit a final report on the learning experience. Both Curtis and Sillner are expected to attend the 2010 AIEA Conference to be held in Washington, D.C., in February.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” said Curtis. “Sillner is very experienced in strategic planning. We’ve never had a real strategic plan for international education on this campus, and I believe the time has come to develop one. It is thanks to the support of former Provost Karen Gould and our current Interim Provost Donald Para that I am able to take advantage of this program.”

The AIEA Fellowship is one of two awards Curtis has received this year. In October, he participated in a two-week Seminar for U.S. Administrators in International Education, compliments of a grant from the Fulbright Commission in Berlin, Germany. Seminar participants studied and observed educational developments and international education in the Federal Republic of Germany.

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Photo by Victoria Sanchez
 Ken Curtis

Curtis spent the first week of the trip in Berlin, where he learned about German higher education and some of its current reforms such as the Bologna Process, the trend toward requiring students to pay tuition (which is new to Germany) and a new emphasis on investing in “excellence” (against a traditional emphasis on equality).

“Europeans are very interested in transatlantic higher collaborations; mobility, they call it,” Curtis explained. “They’ve been working very hard towards this within Europe because traditionally the national systems across the European nations do not align and it’s almost impossible for young Europeans to take their credit course work to other countries and transfer back across. Thus, the Bologna Process, as it is known, represents the European model for transferability of credits. And that creates some possibilities for us.”

Curtis also visited German engineering giant Siemens to explore how the country’s industries are investing in the talent base needed for future growth.

During the second week, Curtis visited Dortmund, a former coal, steel and brewing town in the Ruhr Valley now making the transition to a knowledge-based economy; Erfurt in the former East Germany; Leipzig and Frankfurt.

“The whole point of the Fulbright seminar was to allow me to gain a knowledge base about German higher education from which to explore the possibilities for transferability of credits and dual-degree programs that would be recognized by both CSULB and a German university,” Curtis added. “And this Fulbright, along with the AIEA Fellows Program, is of benefit to my professional development and to the future of international education at CSULB.”

–Teresa Hagen-Crowder