Robin Lee, associate director of the Career Development Center at CSULB, has been accepted to the Fulbright International Education Administrators (FIEA) program. As part of the program, she will travel to Germany in October to meet with faculty and administrators to learn about the orientation and retention efforts for first-year students in that country.
In Germany, Lee will also seek new perspectives on the need to internationalize U.S. campuses and insight into how it can be done by participating in a variety of campus visits and meetings with foreign colleagues, government officials, and by attending cultural events and briefings on education.
“The Fulbright will afford me the opportunity to investigate the transition and integration of first-year students to the German higher education system, and it will also allow me to build on my research interests,” said Lee.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and established by Congress in 1946, the Fulbright program is the largest international exchange program in the nation. Students, scholars and academic professionals accepted into the program embark on a variety of activities worldwide, such as international graduate studies, advanced research, as well as teaching at the university, elementary and secondary schools levels.
The Fulbright program awarded approximately 6,000 grants in 2007—at a cost of more than $262 million—to U.S. students, teachers, professionals and scholars to study, teach, lecture and conduct research in more than 155 countries.
“During the last two years, Robin has conceived and developed a highly-effective career development program for CSULB freshmen. As such, I am certain that her dedication to improving programs and services for all students, along with her drive and determination to succeed, will be a hallmark of her participation in the Fulbright IEA U.S.-Germany Program,” said Douglas W. Robinson, vice president for student services at CSULB. “I am looking forward to the information she will share with CSULB's faculty, staff and administration regarding the student success efforts taking place in Germany; with the aim of further influencing student success efforts taking place at our campus.”
Other research interests that Lee plans to explore in Germany include student success, career development of university students, student transition to higher education, internships and other forms of experiential education.
“I will have the opportunity to learn the views of German students on career development and share an American view,” said Lee. “In particular, I would like to learn much about the experiences of first-year students in Germany and what they think about careers and the manner in which they arrive at making career decisions.”
Having created a career development program at CSULB, Lee is particularly interested in observing the German higher education system. Some of the insight she will obtain include the country’s most effective elements of its student success programs, how faculty, staff and administrators collaborate to deliver the programs, and what the perceptions are of German students regarding their academic and career success as participants in these programs.
During her career in higher education, Lee has been explicitly connected to the success of students. Her interest in this area began during her doctoral study, which led to dissertation research in the area of access to higher education for African American and Latino students.
Lee has also gained a great deal of knowledge regarding international students while serving as internship coordinator for four years at CSULB.
“As a member of the International Education Committee, Robin has initiated many programs that helped transform the way in which faculty, staff, students and alumni utilize the Career Development Center,” said Robinson. “In carrying out the university’s mission to ensure that CSULB students are significantly exposed to a global perspective, Robin was able to play a key role in developing several Student Services Division initiatives geared toward infusing programs and services with an international focus into the division’s work plans.”
After Germany, Lee will develop “best practices” geared toward career and academic development that may be implemented at CSULB for first-year students.
“I am planning to write and publish several research and related articles regarding my observations of higher education in Germany and the targeted efforts to assist in the academic success of first-year students,” she said. “I am also hoping to present workshops at several national conferences regarding student success and internationalizing efforts to assist first-year students.”