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Published June 18, 2021
Tim Robinson has spent the past eight years at the University of Wyoming focusing his attention on medical education. As he transitions back to the faculty as a full professor in the UW Department of Mathematics and Statistics come July 1, he sees his penchant for administration and numbers helping him in another new role.
Robinson, director of the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Medical Education Program, recently received notice from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and World Learning that he has been recommended for placement on the Fulbright Specialist Program roster for a tenure of four years.
“Environmental conservation always has been a passion of mine,” Robinson says. “To have an opportunity through the Fulbright program to apply my statistical and administrative background to these problems on a global scale is a great honor.”
The Fulbright Specialist Program was established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program pairs highly qualified U.S. academics and professionals with host institutions abroad to share their expertise, strengthen institutional links, hone their skills, gain international experience and learn about other cultures while building capacity at their overseas host institutions.
Specialists, who represent a wide range of professional and academic disciplines, are competitively selected to join the Fulbright Specialist roster based on their knowledge, skill sets and ability to make significant contributions to projects overseas.
Robinson views his environmental passion and his selection as a Fulbright Specialist as timely, pointing to the United Nations having declared 2021-2030 as the “Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.” By some estimates, it will cost more than $12 trillion to restore millions of hectares of land worldwide, he says.
“Ecological and environmental restoration is an area that is receiving a great deal of attention right now. Second, we are living during a time where there is no shortage of data, but a significant challenge in many scientific disciplines is determining how to efficiently mobilize data for decision-making,” Robinson says. “Efficient data mobilization requires scientific background, clear communication, strong leadership and collaboration. My research background in statistics and data science, coupled with my administrative experience at the University of Wyoming, were likely factors that helped me get selected.”
As a candidate on the Fulbright Specialist roster, Robinson is eligible to be matched with projects designed by host institutions in more than 150 countries globally. Robinson’s acceptance is not a guarantee of a Fulbright grant. Rather, it places him among a pool of candidates who may be matched to a project during his four-year tenure.
“Once you are on this roster, you apply for projects that match your expertise,” he says. “I am in the process of reviewing available projects.”
Once abroad, Fulbright Specialists partner with their host institutions to conduct project activities in support of the host institution’s priorities and goals.
Projects are generally two to six weeks in length and can take place at any time during the school year. Given the short-term duration of the Fulbright Specialist projects, a faculty member would not require a sabbatical or have to wait until the summer to serve as a project member, he says.
“Much of my research has revolved around ecological monitoring and the application of statistics and data science to large-scale restoration projects,” Robinson says. “The Fulbright Specialist Program provides a unique opportunity to work with highly skilled professionals from around the world to work on globally significant projects. I look forward to contributing to these projects and taking these experiences back to the classroom at the University of Wyoming.”