February 13, 2024

For third consecutive year, Purdue recognized as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. scholars; record-tying 8 faculty selected for 2023-24

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University, for the third consecutive year and fourth time in five years, is in elite company, ranking among U.S. universities with the highest number of faculty selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

The Fulbright Program, the world’s most acclaimed and prestigious international academic exchange initiative, recognized Purdue as a “top-producing institution,” with eight faculty members named Fulbright scholars for the 2023-24 academic year.

“We take great pride in making this list again, but we’re equally proud of the outstanding teaching and research conducted by those who were selected,” said Patrick Wolfe, Purdue provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “These prestigious awards exemplify our commitment to excellence at scale and our dedication to being a key contributor to the Fulbright mission.”

Purdue was cited by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for being among the top 10 doctoral institutions in the country to receive the distinction as a top producer. This also marks the fourth time Purdue has received this recognition since the program began in 2009-10. 

pt-mcgowan-fulbright-800x533 Bethany McGowan of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies used her Fulbright scholar award to research how to mitigate the spread of dis- and misinformation in Finland, the Nordic region and the European Union. (Photo provided) Download image

Nineteen doctoral institutions, including Purdue, are being recognized as top producers of U.S. Fulbright faculty scholars. The annual list of top producers was announced Tuesday (Feb. 13) in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Purdue’s 2023-24 faculty scholars and their awarded host colleges are: 

  • Douglass Jacobs, the Fred M. van Eck Chair in Forest Biology, College of Agriculture.
  • Nina Mahmoudian, associate professor of mechanical engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Bethany McGowan, associate professor, Libraries and School of Information Studies.
  • Ming Qu, professor of civil engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Denny Yu, associate professor of industrial engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Paul Asunda, associate professor of technology leadership and innovation, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, with a joint appointment in the College of Education.
  • Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Sarah Renkert, assistant professor of practice in anthropology, College of Liberal Arts. 

“The eight Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award winners tie the largest number of faculty awardees in a single year at Purdue,” said Christopher Lukasik, associate professor of English and Provost’s Fellow for Faculty Fulbright Awards. “The record of eight awardees was set in 2019-20 and matched again in 2020-21.”

Additional Information

Added McGowan, whose Fulbright project explores the topic of dis- and misinformation: “My Fulbright Scholar experiences … have profoundly impacted my career. They provided me with a nuanced understanding of how regulatory and ethical principles can mitigate the spread of dis- and misinformation across Finland, the Nordic region and the European Union.”

jacobs-butternut Douglass Jacobs, the Fred M. van Eck Chair in Forest Biology, encourages his fellow Purdue faculty to consider applying for Fulbright scholar awards, noting it “creates possibilities for lifelong professional relationships.” (Purdue University photo/Tom Campbell) Download image

Jacobs said the Fulbright award has been deeply impactful, affording him to travel and spend time in Sweden to advance his research, teaching and scholarship efforts.

“It gave me an opportunity to live in Sweden and cultivate much deeper research ties with faculty and students than I ever achieved in past years with short stays,” said Jacobs, noting the Sweden Fulbright scholars also were invited to the Nobel Prize ceremony, where they saw the king of Sweden award the 2023 Nobel laureates, including West Lafayette High School graduate Moungi Bawendi.

Jacobs encouraged his fellow colleagues to think seriously about applying for the distinguished program: “The Fulbright scholar award opens many doors and creates possibilities for lifelong professional relationships through the Fulbright Alumni Association. The support through Purdue for the Fulbright Program is outstanding, and the staff at the Fulbright Program in my host country of Sweden made the transition seamless and welcoming.” 

In conjunction with Purdue’s Fulbright Week activities, all tenure-stream and clinical faculty are encouraged to attend an information session about the Fulbright Faculty Award Program at 10-11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23, in Wilmeth Active Learning Center, Room 2051. Faculty and administrators interested in learning more about the Fulbright award programs can contact Lukasik at clukasik@purdue.edu.  

Fulbright is a program of the Department of State, with funding provided by the federal government. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program. 

“I would like to commend you and to thank you and your entire team for your hard work in promoting the Fulbright Program to the students and faculty on your campus,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a prepared statement. “In particular, I would like to recognize Chris Lukasik for their support of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program as Purdue University’s designated Fulbright Scholar Liaison.” 

Fulbright alumni work to make a positive impact on their communities, sectors and the world and have included 41 heads of state or government, 62 Nobel laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur fellows, and countless leaders and changemakers who build mutual understanding between citizens of the U.S. and those of other countries.  

Faculty awards and recognition

Faculty are encouraged to explore prestigious recognition opportunities listed on the Faculty Awards and Honors webpage. Faculty may also request assistance with award submissions from the Office of the Provost’s Faculty Recognition Program here. 

About Purdue University 

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives. 

Writer, media contact: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu

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