San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 23rd, 2011
Professor, former P&Z commish receives Fulbright grant


William De Soto has been awarded a Fulbright grant to lecture at the Ivan Franko National University of L’viv, in Ukraine.

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William De Soto. Photo courtesy of Texas State.

De Soto, an associate political science professor at Texas State University and former vice chair of the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission, will lecture abroad in spring 2012.

De Soto will teach Ukranians courses in American government and American political thought pursuant to his Fulbright project, which is called “Helping Build Civil Society in Modern Ukraine.”

“Ukraine is a young country that has existed as an independent state for only 20 years,” De Soto said. “The challenge that Ukraine shares with many young nations is building government institutions that work effectively and promote the long-term well-being of the country and its citizens.”

De Soto said one of his major interests as a political scientist is in understanding how a government can be both accountable to its populace and successful.

“I hope to visit campuses in other parts of the country and exchange ideas about both political life and academic life,” De Soto said. “It’s a privilege I am grateful for.”

Founded in 1661, the Ivan Franko National University of L’viv is one of the oldest universities in eastern Europe. L’viv is located in the L’viv province in western Ukraine and is a U.N. world heritage site renowned for its architecture.

At least one Texas State faculty member has received a Fulbright grant each year since 2002, said Steve Wilson, professor of English at Texas State. Wilson advises Fulbright applicants.

The Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, which administers the Fulbright program, recognized Texas State as one of the top producers of Fulbright Fellows among American colleges and universities at the master’s level in 2009 and 2010. In those years, Fulbright grants were awarded to two Texas State students — Jessica Spangler, who majored in geography and German, traveled to Germany, and Michael Trice, technical communication major, traveled to England.

In 2010-2011, two Texas State faculty received Fulbright grants — Roseann Mandziuk, communication studies professor, who traveled to Poland, and Daris Hale, music senior lecturer, who traveled to Tanzania.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the citizenries of the U.S. and other countries. The program, established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Approximately 310,000 “Fulbrighters,” — 116,900 of them from the U.S. and 192,800 from other countries — have participated in the program since its inception. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 new grants annually. The program operates in more than 155 countries.

Forty Fulbright alumni have received Nobel Prizes for their work.

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