Ful-ly Oriented as a Fulbright to Ireland

Fulbright Ireland recently welcomed a new cohort of incoming scholars. The orientation program included lessons in Irish language, culture, politics, and economics, in addition to general tips for organizing life and getting around.

The staff of Fulbright Ireland invited me to come share my experiences as a Fulbright Alum, and so I attended my third orientation for incoming scholars. I much enjoyed my own incoming session in 2012, and was happy to give a short talk for the incoming scholars in 2014 and 2015. In the past, I’ve also attended orientation sessions for the Irish Fulbright scholars headed to the USA and served on an evaluation panel to help select Irish awardees in engineering.

I always enjoy hearing about the fascinating research projects our Fulbrighters are doing, and the experiences they’ve had getting here and settling in. A list of the current Fulbright scholars who have come from the US to Ireland, along with a brief description of each project, is available on the Irish Fulbright website.

I also enjoy hosting Fulbright scholars at my own home now and then. Currently, I’m hosting Amanda Wagstaff, who earned a BA in Art and Art History from the College of William and Mary (on the very same day I earned my PhD there). She went on to earn an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As the recipient of a Fulbright award for current and recent students, Amanda is researching Celtic Christian monasticism and text/art objects at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Amanda maintains a beautiful website of her artwork that I encourage you to visit.

I’ve shown photos of the day–including taking the DART from Connolly Station (pictured) and the orientation sessions conducted at the Institute of Public Administration.

Discussing Development… of College Students

I just made my annual appearance at the class on theories about college students’ development taught by Dr. Jim Barber. Last year I got to be there in person, but this year it was back to Skype.

Fortunately, the new version of Skype allows for screen sharing. It is always a bit disorienting for me to deliver guest lectures online, but I don’t think it was too painful for the audience tonight — on account of this new technology.

Presentation to W&M SoE

Today at DIT, my research project is fully underway, and every day I’m drawing from the theories I learned in this very informative class that I had the good fortune to take, way back in 2006, at The College of William and Mary.

Tonight, I discussed two research methods I’ve been using — the first using template analysis and the second using descriptive phenomenology. If you’d like to view the Prezi I presented, you can click here.

The best part of the evening was that the William and Mary grad students — 22 in all — had lots and lots of questions. I couldn’t gauge exactly how well I was connecting with the folks in the back row (who contributed lots of great questions) because the resolution was only so/so, but I have been loving that the fact that my Skype/Messenger/iMessage/MagicJack technology has been improving every day!

It’s five hours later in Dublin than back in Virginia, so the evening is quite well worn here. And since I’ve got a researcher “media training” workshop in the morning, I’d better hit the sack now…. Adieu, Adieu, To you and you and yo-u!

Prezi cover shot

The Good News

The Good News is, I got my grant proposal submitted.  Because I’m pretty new to the field I’m researching, my chances are probably below the 13.2% success rate. On the other hand, I’m hoping the fact that I was so careful and spent so much time will boost my odds.  Sometimes the best you can do is try.

The Bad News is, I haven’t had time to blog.  There’s still so much to show and tell.  But since I’m headed home in less than a week,  I am up to my elbows in packing instead of showing and telling.

In the meantime, I’ll upload an intriguing map posted on Facebook by my brilliant and talented former student from Hampton University, Lanre Ajibola. The size and shape of the USA is shown in dark purple.  Lanre was born in Nigeria and he says:

Quick Geography lesson: next time anyone talks about Africa like it’s a country, present this map – you are welcome!

Seeing as how I directed a Fulbright-Hays program to Tanzania in 2005, it makes sense for me to post this on my Fulbright blog even though it has nothing to do with my trip to Ireland. 🙂

Speaking of relative sizes, I’d better get back to seeing how much I can stuff into my suitcases without going over the weight limits….

Relative size of Africa

Relative size of Africa

Dublin Castle

Here’s what Dublin Castle looks like….

Fulbright events were held in the Throne Room, Picture Gallery, an St. Patrick’s Hall.

Lovin’ the Dub

It’s vacation time of year here in Dublin, and friends are making a point of catching up with me before they go on holidays and I return to the States . It’s been such fun catching up with people I enjoy… like Eileen, Joe, Nancy, and Tom.

Fulbright helped me connect with such interesting folks… teachers, scholars, engineers, linguists, musicians, and technology gurus… and that was just yesterday!

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July, world! Today I’m celebrating 39,200 visits to my blog. Thanks for visiting and being part of my Fulbright experience in Ireland!stats 39200 map of world at 39200

Guimarães: Birthplace of Portugal

Hamming it up!

Helping with the founding back in 1111 AD. 😉

Guimarães is an architecturally stunning town, and it is the place Portugal was born in the year 1111. Following my visit to the engineering program at the University of Minho and my Fulbright lecture/workshop, my hosts took me to visit the historic center and enjoy lunch in one of its very fine outdoor plazas.

Exotic Porto

Porto's water front -- the perfect place for dinner and an evening stroll!

Porto’s water front — the perfect place for dinner and an evening stroll!

After speaking in Setabul, Lisbon, and Aviero, I packed up bag and hopped on the train to Porto.  It’s a lovely port city with steep topography and — surprise — more of Portugal’s stunning architecture!

I’ve been uploading the photos I took using my iPhone, so, unfortunately, I’m only providing a fleeting glimpse of these gorgeous places.  I hope someday you’ll have the chance to visit them for yourself.

Photo Launch Fun

Dave Chance did a delightful job documenting events at the opening of my first photography exhibition, InterChanges: Reflections from Dublin and Beyond.  Thanks to all my fabulous friends and colleagues for coming out to support my work!

By the way, I’ve sold six photos to date.  If there’s one you see on the wall that you’d like to purchase, please let me know.  They are selling for 80 Euro each and sales are helping me recoup the cost of producing the show.

Group- and Project-Based Learning

We've got 19 shining faces in the Problem-Based Learning module we are conducting on Tuesdays in May.

We’ve got 19 shining faces in the Problem-Based Learning module we are conducting on Tuesdays in May. (Not to mention three shiny teachers!)

In the Fulbright application I submitted two Augusts ago, I promised to co-teach a class at DIT that used Problem-Based Learning.  At the time I applied, I anticipated that I would co-teach an architecture course.  But in the course of the interviews I conducted, I discovered it had been quite a while since DIT’s Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre (LTTC) had offered a module for faculty/staff on how to implement Problem-Based Learning.

I’ve witnessed such remarkable results that seem to have accrued as a result of the topic having been offered in the past–by Terry Barrett and Brian Bowe.

So, I recruited some folks (Orla Hanratty, Brian Bowe, and Gavin Duffy) to help and 19 students enrolled in the course.  Here are some photos from Day One….