Kansas University study abroad officials are stepping up application efforts for the Fulbright Scholarship program.
Mary Elizabeth Debicki, director of the Office of Study Abroad, said students are being asked to refine their proposals earlier than in the past. She also said that advanced graduate students may be more appropriate for consideration.
"We just are not getting enough advanced graduate students to apply for these awards," Debicki said in an interview Friday. "We're finding that we're getting a lot of good students, but they just aren't really focused."
She said KU would like to have about 40 to 50 Fulbright applicants each year, but she said the school is getting only about 20 applicants annually.
IN A MEMO sent to deans, chairs, department heads and graduate advisers, Debicki said, "Although KU continues as the state leader in the number of Fulbright grantees, our showing in the past two years has been poor."
Debicki said excellent students are applying for Fulbright grants, which are administered by the U.S. Information Agency. The scholarships provide transportation and support for a year of study abroad.
But Debicki said many of the students are turned down because their research proposals are too sketchy.
"To our distress, the deadline for sending off applications is in October," she said. "We need to do a lot of screening before that, and what's been happening is that students have been sort of dashing off their proposals when they come back to school in the fall. We want to refine their thinking early in the process."
SO THE Office of Study Abroad has asked students to complete a pre-proposal by May 6. A member of the Fulbright committee then will work with the student to refine the final proposal, which will be due in September.
Debicki said faculty members have been asked to send a list of possible nominees to the Office of Study Abroad. By more actively involving faculty members, students will have a better chance at receiving grants, she said.
Debicki said the program may be more appropriate for advanced graduate students who are working on theses and dissertations.
Since the Fulbright program began in 1948, more than 200 KU students have been awarded grants. The first KU Fulbright scholar studied abroad in 1950, Debicki said.