Lakeland College's Scott Niederjohn, the Charlotte and Walter Kohler Associate Professor of Economics and Business, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach in Luxembourg in the fall of 2013.
Niederjohn is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2013-2014. He is Lakeland's first Fulbright Scholar.
Niederjohn will teach an undergraduate course on the U.S. economy, culture and business practices at the University of Luxembourg and present a series of lectures on the U.S. housing crisis and subprime meltdown to students in the master of science in banking and finance program.
He will also continue to build the relationship between Lakeland and the University of Luxembourg, and represent Lakeland at European student recruitment events and develop new exchange relationships for Lakeland students. The first Lakeland students are expected to study in Luxembourg in spring 2014, and Niederjohn will play a significant role in assisting with their transition.
"I'm very honored to receive this award and I'm excited to have this opportunity, which I consider the highlight of my professional career," Niederjohn said. "This will be a rich experience for me and my family, and Lakeland will also benefit significantly."
Niederjohn's interest in the country of Luxembourg dates back to a meeting in 2010 with the Luxembourg-American Cultural Society (LACS) in nearby Belgium, Wis. Since that time, Lakeland has worked closely with the society on projects related to student internships and business development activities between the U.S. and Luxembourg. Niederjohn has represented Lakeland at numerous meetings and events related to the LACS and Luxembourg.
In February 2012, Niederjohn and then-Senior Vice President Dan Eck were invited by the University of Luxembourg to visit and explore opportunities to work together. The trip included meetings with several professors and senior administrators from the university, as well as a meeting with Luxembourg's minister for higher education.
Niederjohn and Eck were also part of a local group that greeted Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker when he visited the Sheboygan area in May 2012. Lakeland Trustee Deb Ansay, an active supporter of the Luxembourg American Cultural Society in Belgium, Wis., has been instrumental in creating these opportunities for Lakeland.
"I'm especially thankful to Deb for her role in my relationship with the University of Luxembourg which has resulted in this honor," Niederjohn said. "I'm grateful to her for what she has done to make this possible."
In addition to teaching, Niederjohn will use the trip to strengthen ties between Lakeland and Luxembourg, the University of Luxembourg and other European institutions.
"Lakeland currently has a number of opportunities for our students to gain an international experience, and we are always looking to expand those offerings," Niederjohn said.
He also plans to use this opportunity to identify best practices for "internationalizing" Lakeland's business curriculum by interviewing and learning from University of Luxembourg faculty and staff. Given Luxembourg's central European location, he will attend college recruitment events in Europe on Lakeland's behalf and meet with other institutions that show promise as exchange locations for Lakeland students.
"As the business world becomes more global, a collegiate international experience is critical for students as they embark upon their careers," Niederjohn said. "Our business division has identified 'internationalizing' our programs as a primary strategic plan going forward, beginning with our international business major."
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."
The Fulbright Program has provided almost 310,000 participants, including 43 Nobel Prize winners - chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential - with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Fulbright recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year.
Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.