Lackaff receives Fulbright award to teach in Norway

Derek Lackaff, associate professor of communications and associate director for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, will join the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen for the 2018-19 academic year.

Associate Professor of Communications Derek Lackaff will spend next academic year teaching at the University of Bergen in Norway as a recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award.

​Lackaff, who is also associate director for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, will join the Department of Information Science and Media Studies (InfoMedia) at the University of Bergen as the university launches new academic programs in interactive media. The university has also recently opened Media City Bergen, a new facility that houses these new InfoMedia programs along with two newspapers, two national broadcasters and major media and information technology companies.

Lackaff teaches in Elon’s Master of Arts in Interactive Media Program, and says he’s looking forward to learning about how academia and the media industry intersect and interact in Media City Bergen. “It gives students a lot of opportunities to participate in internships and practicums, while giving these members of the industry access to each other, access to research and access to students,” he says.

Lackaff is one of more than 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad during the 2018-19 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients are selected on the bases of academic and professional achievement as well as a record of service and demonstrated leadership in their fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

The new InfoMedia programs at the University of Bergen are ground-breaking in Norway, Lackaff says, both because of the benefits that come from locating both academia and industry within Media City Bergen as well as the adoption of curricula that move beyond traditional lecture-based content. He’s excited to share about the success Elon has seen with engaged learning in the areas of curricular internships, service learning and capstone experiences.

“International comparisons of practice and philosophy, such as those potentially fostered by this award, are incredibly useful in helping us reflect on our practice,” Lackaff says. “I will return to Elon with a broader understanding of my content domain, a richer pedagogical toolbox, and an expanded professional network that would support further collaborations.”

Lackaff joined Elon as an assistant professor of communications in 2010 and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. He began serving in the role of associate director for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in 2017.

He will begin his work at the University of Bergen in August and will finish his time as a Fulbright scholar in June 2019. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 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.

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