UTEP Educator to Promote Teacher Preparation in Chile

By Daniel Perez

UTEP News Service

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board recently announced that Reynaldo Reyes III, Ph.D., associate professor of teacher education at The University of Texas at El Paso, earned a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and do research in Chile during the fall 2012 semester.

Reyes, who left in late July, will be based at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile. He will work with the university’s college of education to enhance its teacher preparation program in teaching English, teach courses on academic writing, and research methods to improve teacher education pedagogy and pre-service teacher learning.Reynaldo Reyes III, Ph.D.Reynaldo Reyes III, Ph.D.

“I hope that this experience gives me perspective and opportunities to think differently about my teaching, research and roles as a university professor in teacher education, and the work that I do to prepare students to be effective teachers of English learners and diverse student populations,” he said via email from Chile.

Among his research interests are socio-cultural influences on learning and critical social and cultural issues in teaching and learning English as a second language. He said he hoped that his Fulbright opportunity helps him to ask better questions when considering his research and what he can do to improve his students' experiences in his courses.

But it will not be all work for Reyes, who has traveled throughout the Western United States as well as Spain, Mexico and Ecuador. He plans to visit many of the country’s beautiful parks, the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, and possibly Easter Island, more than 2,000 miles away in the South Pacific.

Reyes is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-13. He is expected back in mid-December.

Arturo Olivarez, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Teacher Education, called this a prestigious opportunity that benefits everyone.

“You contribute what you know and learn what you can in your new setting,” Olivarez said. “The students are the ultimate beneficiaries. They’ll gain as a result of your new skill set.”

Reyes is the fourth teacher education faculty member at UTEP to earn a Fulbright in the past five years. The others are Judith Munter, Ph.D.; William Robertson, Ph.D.; and Mourat Tchoshanov, Ph.D. 

“We’re looking for the fifth,” Olivarez joked.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, D-Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics.

Fulbright recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and other countries.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.