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San Rafael, CA 94901-2298
Dr. Watana Vinitwatanakhun from Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand, is a Fulbright Scholar who conducted her research at our University last year. While at Dominican, she wrote a paper titled "Factors Leading to Faculty Engagement: A Comparative Study Regarding Two Private Universities: One in Thailand and One in the U.S."
Being a part of Dominican University of California for five months not only contributed to my professional development, but also helped me understand students’ life on campus.
That is, apart from studying, they are also doing activities together at Dominican University of California: community service such as reading the Holy Bible to the nuns, sports, e.g. joining the university's football, basketball and volleyball teams. There dedication truly impressed me. My daughter and I felt impressed to have seen these and many other American traditions during our stay.
We were delighted to be in the United States and had the chance to experience several American holidays as well as festive season, to name a few; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We used to see how people celebrate these special occasions on the television and in movies. Not to mention being immersed in the historical election that took place when I was there. Being in an American educational system for five months, I have gained many valuable experiences and insights.
While I was conducting the research and co-teaching at the university, my daughter was taking three classes: drawing, color and design, and photography. She did well and definitely learned a great deal from the professors. Moreover, she told me that her classmates were nice, helpful, and hardworking.
She also mentioned that the atmosphere was very positive. What she learned from Dominican University of California would certainly benefit her area of interest in the future. Professors at Dominican University of California, especially the professor with whom I co-taught, usually, if not always, encourage their students to express their opinions in class. On top of that, they strive to bring out the best from their students.
As equally impressive as how professors treat their students is the way the scholars at Dominican University of California work together. For instance, Deans and Head Departments do not see their instructors as subordinates. Rather, they view their instructors as colleagues regardless of the context.
My professional experience at Dominican was excellent. Aside from gaining knowledge in ethnological aspects of higher education, I had a good opportunity to widen my professional background in nursing and to get some knowledge as co-faculty in two undergraduate courses: Nursing Research and Directed Research.
I participated in many meeting and also liked the way faculty members practice project work. I also gained many valuable practical experiences by attending lectures, seminars and presentations within the Faculty Development Program at Dominican University of California. In addition, I successfully presented my poster at the Hawaii International Conference on Education.
The two-day conference at Asilomar, Monterey, which was organized by Fulbright Enrichment Program was very beneficial. The conference was a great place to network and connect with many scholars from every corner of the world. I met people from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Korea, Tibet, Japan, and China. Many of them were in the United States as Humphrey Fellows, while others were Doctoral students. It was really a pleasure to learn new things from those people. This was really an experience uniting people of many nationalities and developing multicultural understanding. Additionally, I have made numerous friends many of whom are looking forward to participating in the exchange-program with Thailand. The days spent in Monterey were nothing short of spectacular.
For all this, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the University's Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Luís María R. Calingo who helped me to have this opportunity and encouraged me to go further with my research. I am very grateful to the Dean of Art and Science, Dr. Martha Nelson, who has always been willing to help me with anything.
My deep appreciation also goes to the Institutional Review Board of the Dominican University of California, Dr. Sherry Volk, who granted me in time the permission for distributing the survey. I am grateful to Dr. Bill Phillips for his assistance on the statistical analysis and his professional advice. I also appreciate the reliable and energetic efforts of Dominican colleagues, Dr. Barbara Ganley and Dr. Luanne Linnard-Palmer. The experience was meaningful and it exceeded my expectations.
The faculty and staff are truly lovely and kind. There are no words that could describe how much I appreciate them. My host institution was wonderful.
I am very fortunate to have been in this program, talked about education, and represented my university and my country, Thailand. Moreover, being able to identify the characteristics of American Education and of bilingual education has been and will always be a challenge. After this, I believe that I will be able to help foster professional collaborations in a different environment for the exchange of high-quality educational resources.