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Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010

School of Education faculty member chosen for Fulbright award

Aug. 3, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have selected an Indiana University professor for a Fulbright Specialists project in South Africa.

Victor M.H. Borden, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Indiana University School of Education, will conduct a program at the University of KwaZulu Natal next month. Borden will deliver the keynote address at the university's fourth annual teaching and learning conference and then deliver a series of workshops and seminars to develop capacity amongst academics to plan, implement, evaluate and improve projects and programs that enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning and promote student success.

"I am very honored and excited to be selected for this project but it is also very humbling to fathom what I might be able to contribute to such a large scale social and organizational re-ordering," Borden said of his Fulbright selection. "I am likely to gain a lot more from the experience than I can possibly contribute."

Over his career, Borden has become known as one of the world's top authorities on institutional research. At Indiana University, he is now senior advisor to the vice president for university regional affairs, planning and policy, after serving as associate vice president for university planning, institutional research and accountability. Borden was associate vice chancellor and director of information management and institutional research at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and also directed institutional research at George Mason University.

He's a past president of the Association for Institutional Research, the professional association for institutional researchers, planners and decision-makers from more than 1,500 higher education institutions around the world. He has published numerous papers on institutional research and student success and presented to audiences around the globe.

Borden is one of more than 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialists Program. The Fulbright Specialists Program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.

In a previous trip to South Africa, Borden was intrigued by the struggles of higher education institutions in that country's unique societal climate.

"In 2005, I had an opportunity to visit universities in three areas of South Africa -- Pretoria, Mthatha and Stellenbosch -- and learn about the incredible challenges related to the post-Apartheid restructuring of higher education nationally," Borden said. "The energy of all participants is incredibly positive but the challenges are vast. I was particularly intrigued by their commitment to establishing equity while tending to the diverse and varied needs of students with differing social and cultural backgrounds and resources."

The project Borden will undertake involves other complicating circumstances. The University of KwaZulu Natal formed after the merger of two former research universities, a teacher education college and a medical school.

"Integrating the administrative, academic and organizational cultures of these disparate entities is a significant challenge," Borden said. "While these processes are being resolved at a systemic level, there is a need to focus on other national imperatives such as the declining student access, retention throughput and quality in higher education."

Borden leaves in mid-September for South Africa. His work concludes in the first week of October.

The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. More than 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields.