Written by Stephanie Whalen, Chair, Academy for Teaching Excellence & Associate Professor, English and Interdisciplinary Studies

You might have been aware that we have had Fulbright Scholars periodically over the years as part of the Office of International Education’s Global Region of Focus initiative, but you may be wondering what our guests do during their time on campus. Our current Fulbright Scholar from Costa Rica, Professor Jairo Viales, has been attending a variety of campus events such as Hullabaloo and even playing volleyball on some Fridays in Building M; he has also been academically engaged in a variety of capacities.

In addition to greeting Harper students, faculty, and staff at the International Student reception this week, Professor Viales has also been working with students and visiting classes across disciplines. He has been tutoring ESL students at Harper, but is also going to be working with youth and adult second-language learners at local elementary schools through Continuing Education. Professor Viales has also served as a guest lecturer talking about Central American independence in Dave Richmond’s History class and shared other cultural knowledge in Andrew Wilson’s English classes and Veronica Mormino’s Geography classes. He’s consulted on environmental issues with Craig Stettner who has taught study abroad programs in Biology and met with Julie Ellefson of Chemistry who is designing an Honors Chemistry study abroad course to Costa Rica. These are just a few examples of the ways that Professor Viales has been enriching our campus and community.

Future plans this semester include Professor Viales giving a talk on the Costa Rican education system as well as sharing some cultural cuisine and traditions. In Spring 2019, an interdisciplinary group of faculty led by Richard Johnson and Nellie Khalil will be offering a GEC on “Engaging Students in Diverse Perspectives” that will be enhanced by Professor Viales’ experiences. Watch for these exciting opportunities to learn more from Professor Viales. If you are interested in talking with Professor Viales, he can be reached at jviales@harpercollege.edu.