October 27, 2021

SUNY Empire Associate Professor Deborah Jean Smith Selected to the Fulbright Specialist Roster

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK – October 27, 2021) Deborah Jean Smith, Ed.D., an associate professor in the SUNY Empire State College School for Undergraduate Studies, has been named to the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a tenure of four years, which began on October 8, 2021.  

Academics are selected for the Fulbright Specialist Roster based on their knowledge, skill sets, and ability to make a significant contribution to overseas projects, with the goal of bringing back their expanded knowledge to their U.S. institution.  

As a candidate on the Fulbright Specialist Roster, Smith is eligible to be matched with projects at host institutions in more than 150 countries to share her expertise in online learning, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and Professional Learning Evaluation (PLE). Her project work will focus on how the development, design, and deployment of online courses and pedagogy for adult learners compares across institutions. 

“A Fulbright host institution can learn to adaptively create and use technology to improve the user experience in adult learning by examining aspects of online learning and PLA/PLE,” Smith said.

Smith worked internationally prior to being selected for the Fulbright Specialist Roster. In 2004, she taught in-person humanities courses in SUNY Empire’s Lebanon Residency Program for two weeks biannually.    

Smith has also volunteered for other short-term, international programs. In 2012, she travelled to Iceland’s East Fjords for two weeks, helping to restore the excavated monastery and hospital at Skriðuklaustur, as well as learning to build Icelandic stone walls. In 2018, she was awarded the Zhi-Xing China Academic Impact Fellowship from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, traveling to China for three weeks, visiting educational institutions, businesses, and cultural venues in Shanghai, Xian, and Beijing.  

“In all international trips I take, I try to learn something of the language, understand more of the culture, eat the food, and rediscover the differences and similarities that make us unique and yet unite us,” Smith said. “As a Fulbright Specialist, I hope to continue this worthwhile cultural sharing and appreciation.”  

SUNY Empire State College Officer in Charge Nathan Gonyea, Ph.D. said,

“Innovative approaches to education for nontraditional learners and the ability to earn college credit for prior learning are cornerstones of the SUNY Empire State College experience. This prestigious opportunity for Deborah to share her expertise in online learning and credential assessment will exponentially expand access to higher education for adult learners around the world.” 

Desalyn De-Souza, Ph.D., dean of the School of Human Services and associate professor for the School for Undergraduate Studies said,

“I am thrilled that Dr. Deb Smith has been selected as a member of the Fulbright Specialist Program. This is an amazing opportunity for her to work on project-based work with different host institutions on a global level.”