Fulbright Scholar grant gives UofL professor opportunity to teach in China


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) professor Robert Jacobs, Ph.D., hopes to connect UofL students and Chinese students through a curriculum that’s part of his 10-month lectureship in China.

    Jacobs recently received the prestigious Fulbright grant to lecture abroad beginning with the 2010 fall semester.

    During his term at the Sichuan University School of Public Health in Chengdu, Jacobs will teach environmental and public health policy. One of his goals is to implement an electronic based peer network between students in the environmental and occupational health classes in Chengdu and master of public health students at UofL. He plans to pose questions about common environmental issues such as health risks associated with air pollution, and ask students from both institutions to explore the issue from different social and cultural perspectives. Jacobs hopes this will provide enhanced learning opportunities and understanding for both groups of students.

    “Most environmental problems are very complex,” Jacobs said. “I want students to think about environmental health from a global perspective.”

    The students will have joint assignments, with much of the discussion taking place through e-mail and chat rooms.

    In addition to teaching, Jacobs plans to work with his Chinese students to initiate environmentally focused public health projects that link students with environmental health practitioners in Chengdu. This will give students first-hand training in starting local environmental programs.

    He also plans to have discussions with the faculty and administration at Sichuan University on curriculum development in public health. He hopes to better understand their process of creating curriculum and compare their guidelines to the educational accreditation model for public health used in the United States.

    Jacobs first traveled to China in 1986 to present a paper on occupational health.

    The traditional Fulbright faculty exchange sends about 800 U.S. faculty members and professionals abroad annually. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a private nonprofit organization, manages the exchange for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. For more information on the program visit www.cies.org/us_scholars/.

    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.