6/4/2009 Linfield professor receives Fulbright award to work in Lebanon
McMINNVILLE – When classes ended at Linfield College this spring, Eric Schuck began preparing to teach a different set of students on the opposite side of the world.
Schuck, an associate professor of economics at Linfield, will spend six weeks teaching and developing a curriculum at American University of Beirut, Lebanon, this summer under the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program, which provides short-term opportunities for faculty and professionals to teach and research around the world.
Schuck will teach a short course on water resource management to graduate students and develop curricular and course materials that the university will integrate into its regular offerings.
This is the second time that Schuck, whose specialty is water resource economics, has traveled and taught under the Fulbright program. He spent several weeks at the University of Western Cape in Capetown, South Africa, in 2006 developing curriculum for their Integrated Water Resource Management Program. With a Ph.D. in agricultural and resources economics, Schuck focused on water use during droughts and controlling agricultural runoff.
Following apartheid, South Africa declared water a fundamental human right and guaranteed everyone access to a minimum quantity of water per day. However, Schuck said, they didn't have the infrastructure in place to support the provision. They began building systems to deliver the water, but didn’t have personnel trained to manage them. And before they could set up water resource management programs at the university level, they needed help training faculty.
That's where Schuck came in. He spent the summer developing curriculum for use in the university under the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program. Schuck is on the roster and becomes eligible to travel under the program every two years. Once his eligibility returned last August, two different universities were interested in his specialty. American University in Beirut was the best fit.
Schuck's work in South Africa led to the development of a 2008 January Term course, Post-Apartheid Developmental and Environmental Economics of South Africa, which covered how post-apartheid-era education, labor and natural resource use policies continue to affect the nation's economic development, and steps that are being taken to develop the nation's economy.
Schuck said the work under the Fulbright program allows him to put into practice what he has learned and makes him a better teacher.
"It's nice to know that there is a direct link between what I teach and what people can use," he said. "In class, it gives me a chance to step back and compare what the book says theoretically and how you actually put it into practice. It helps describe the actual decision-making process. That's what tends to resonate with students and helps them learn."