Doris Duncan enjoyed some of the lifestyle and culture during her Fulbright assignment in Tunis, Tunisia earlier this year. She is shown touring the area by camel.
After nearly 37 years of teaching in the College of Business and Economics at Cal State East Bay, Professor Doris Duncan can now add ESPIRIT, a private college of engineering and technology near Tunis, Tunisia, to the list of universities at which she’s lectured.
Duncan was selected from a long list of candidates for the Fulbright Specialist Program, which offers faculty, students, administration and business professionals grants to lecture and conduct research overseas.
“It was a very rewarding experience, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” said Duncan. “I view the Fulbright Program as a way of promoting and moving in the direction of world peace one person at a time at the local level and in the community.”
The professor underwent a competitive selection process, which included submitting a five-page curriculum vitae and several letters of reference to be considered for the prestigious program. After being chosen as a contender, Duncan was placed on a roster of qualified candidates where her name could remain for up to five years with no guarantee of selection.
After being chosen by a panel of reviewers Duncan traveled to Tunis during the spring to share her expertise with faculty and students at ESPIRIT.
The professor presented two model lessons geared towards improving and strengthening the technology and engineering curriculum at the Tunisian university. While the majority of her lectures focused on information systems for accounting and the legal environment of business, Duncan also gave students a glimpse of working life in the Bay Area during her “Trends in Information Systems and Technology Careers: A Silicon Valley Perspective” seminar.
Duncan said the topics she lectured on and her curriculum recommendations made to the faculty and administration will play an important role in enhancing the academic and entrepreneurial environment of the institution. Additionally, she expects it will improve ESPIRIT’s qualifications to help the school earn a globally recognized accreditation.
Aside from her lecture series, the professor participated in the cultural side of the Fulbright program. She traveled to several cities and villages learning Tunisian customs and gaining a better understanding of the country’s culture, while also experiencing Tunisia’s wildlife during a two-day safari, which included a camel ride in the Sahara Desert.
“I feel even better prepared to work with a wide spectrum of people in diverse cultural, educational and business environments,” said Duncan.
Although this was Duncan’s first trip to North Africa, she is not a foreigner to the continent. In 2009, Duncan participated in her first Fulbright opportunity in Kampala, Uganda, where she spent three weeks working with faculty at Kyambogo University to help stimulate their information technology curriculum and overall educational system.
“I now better understand the hardships people in developing countries undergo, and I have a deeper appreciation of the conditions workers in developing countries face,” said Duncan.
Above all else, the professor said the relationships she formed and people she met while overseas made for the most memorable and rewarding experiences of the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Duncan is scheduled to speak about “this trip of a lifetime” and program opportunities in November at the Decision Sciences Institute conference in San Francisco.
For more information about the Fulbright Scholar Program, visit the Web site.