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Story Faculty

CSU Campuses are Among the Country's Top Producers of Fulbright Scholars

Alisia Ruble


Faculty bring an international perspective home to CSU students and help find solutions to global problems through the prestigious scholarship program.

Two women wearing head scarves one giving a peace sign

​Photo​ courtesy of CSU Channel Islands Professor of Applied Physics Geoff Dougherty, Ph.D.


Four California State University campuses are top producers of Fulbright Scholars among master's institutions for 2021-22, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education: Chico, San Luis Obispo, Channel Islands and Humboldt.

Additionally, nine CSU campuses were selected in October 2021 to receive the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' (ECA) inaugural “Fulbright Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Leader" designation: Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, San Diego, San Francisco, San José and Sonoma. The designation recognizes only 35 HSIs that have demonstrated noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program.

For over 75 years, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participantschosen for their academic merit and leadership potential​with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world.

More than 800 U.S. scholars, artists and early-career professionals teach or conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually. In addition, more than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and early career professionals in more than 100 different fields of study receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants annually to study, teach and conduct research overseas.

Through these opportunities, faculty gain a global perspective and acceptance of other cultures and bring foreign knowledge and new solutions to international problems.

“I am delighted to see CSU campuses well-represented in this list of the country's top producing institutions for Fulbright Scholars," says CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research Ganesh Raman, Ph.D. “The overseas research and scholarship of our faculty translate directly to classroom enrichment and experiential learning for our students that prepares them for exciting careers of the future."​

Meet two of the CSU's 2021-22 Fulbright Scholars and learn about their work.

​​An American college professor posing with Indonesian men, and women wearing hijabs

CSU Channel Islands Professor of Applied Physics Geoffrey Doughtery, Ph.D., (center) with faculty and students at Airlangga University in Indonesia in April 2018.

Professor of Applied Physics, CSU Channel Islands

Dr. Dougherty is a veteran Fulbright Scholar, having traveled to Indonesia as a Fulbright Specialist in Engineering Education in 2013 and 2018, and to Australia as a Fulbright Senior in 2009. During his 2022 trip, he taught at two universities: Diponegoro University in Central Java and Airlangga University in East Java.

Through workshops and seminars, ​Dougherty shared his knowledge of interdisciplinary applications of image processing and analysis with students at both universities and oversaw several graduate projects. As a Fulbright Specialist in Education, he presented a series of talks and exercises to faculty on initiatives in education and innovative teaching methods to expand their curriculum and make it more engaging, and consulted with administrators on how to strengthen faculty development. 

He says his experiences as a Fulbright Scholar have further improved his teaching at CSUCI and provided myriad ideas for new course development and student research.

“My interactions with other cultures have honed my insights into student learning, which are particularly relevant to our minority students, many of whom are bilingual and non-traditional," Dougherty says. “I have also been instrumental in securing Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) between CSUCI and both Indonesian universities, encouraging increased cooperation including student and faculty exchanges."

Dougherty grew up in Ireland, studied in England and Switzerland and taught in Malaysia, Australia and Kuwait before coming to CSU Channel Islands in 2002 shortly after the campus was founded. When he's not traveling as a Fulbright Scholar, he is taking student interns to the CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.

​​A man with grey hair standing between rows of hydroponic produce in a greenhouse

Chico State Professor of Agriculture Lee Altier, Ph.D., on the University Farm.

Professor of Agriculture, Chico State

Dr. Altier's Fulbright Scholarship took him to Izmir, Turkey, for five months to teach at Ege University—a school he chose, in part, for its familiarity. Like Chico State, Ege University has a large farm where students can participate in hands-on learning and its faculty is focused on sustainable farming practices. Izmir also has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate like Northern California and faces many of the same challenges.

“My classes were focused on agricultural strategies that seek to maintain productivity and regenerate soil health in a rapidly changing climate," says Altier. “Besides Turkish students, I had students from all over Asia, Africa and Europe, which offered wonderful opportunities for engaging the class in conversations about food security issues in their respective countries."  

In addition to teaching, Altier presented seminars on horticultural therapy and aquaponic production and shared Chico State's research on "no till" farming techniques that simultaneously maintain soil quality and sequester carbon to help fight climate change. 

“I also enjoyed getting involved with the local community," says Altier. “Among the hills above Izmir is a farm that was donated to the city and serves as a model of sustainable agricultural practices, and my students and I provided workshops there."

Altier has been working in farming for nearly four decades and has taught at Chico State for 26 years. He has been the director of the Organic Vegetable Project (OVP) at the University Farm and has led students on study abroad programs in Nepal and Thailand.​

The Fulbright Program is currently accepting applications for the 2023-24 academic year until September 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PST. For more information, visit the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program website.​