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Vol 57 No. 10 : May 18, 2005
Vol 57 No. 10 | May 18, 2005
Political Science Professor Selected
for Fulbright Program Research Chair

Ron Schmidt Portrait

Ron Schmidt, a political science professor at CSULB, has been selected to hold a 2005-06 Fulbright Scholars Program Research Chair at the University of Montreal in Canada beginning in the fall.

"This recognition is one of the proudest moments in my career," said Schmidt, who has been a faculty member at CSULB for more than 30 years. “I feel very honored to have been selected. An international recognition like this is near the top. I never dreamed of receiving anything like this when I first joined the university in 1972."

The position is part of a new series of research chairs set up in cooperation with the Fulbright Program and the Canadian government.

“Fulbright grants usually involve teaching assignments, but I was invited to apply a year ago for this inaugural year of research chairs in Canada. I will be expected to lecture several times and attend colloquia, in addition to doing my research," Schmidt pointed out. “This will be my first participation in the Fulbright program and only my second research visit to Canada."

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship program in international educational exchange, was proposed to Congress in 1945 by then freshman Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. In the aftermath of World War II, Fulbright viewed the proposed program as a much-needed vehicle for promoting “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world." Congress approved and the program was signed into law by President Truman in 1946.

Fulbright grants are made to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Since the program's inception, more than 250,000 participants – chosen for their leadership potential – have had the opportunity to observe each other's political, economic and cultural institutions.

In his proposal to the Fulbright Program, Schmidt developed an analytic framework to do a comparative study of immigrant settlement policies between Canada and the United States. What kinds of policies does Canada use to help immigrants get settled in their new country and what kinds of policies does the United States use? Does the United States even have such a policy?

“It involves trying to assess different orientations toward the incorporation of immigrants," explained Schmidt, who believes the Canadians have a more proactive approach toward immigrant settlement than does the United States.

His Canadian research will include interviewing immigration officials face to face on both the provincial and federal levels. “I'll talk to government officials and interest-group leaders from immigrant communities as well as various scholars," he said. He also will take a break to visit Washington, D.C., in the fall to attend the annual conference of the American Political Science Association.

At the conclusion of his fall semester at the University of Montreal's Center for International Studies, Schmidt will continue a year-long sabbatical from the CSULB Political Science Department to complete a co-authored new book, already in progress, on the impact of recent immigration on U.S. racial politics.

“We are examining the impact of newcomers on the efforts of Blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans to increase their political clout in the United States," he said. “We think the new immigrants are bringing about major changes in U.S. racial politics."

Schmidt earned his B.A. in 1965 and M.A. in 1966 from UC Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from UC Riverside in 1971, all in political science. He received CSULB's Outstanding Professor Award in 1998, and he is currently president of the Western Political Science Association.  


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