FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014

Professor completes third Fulbright posting

Elizabeth Goldsmith

Elizabeth Goldsmith, a professor in Florida State's College of Human Sciences.

Elizabeth Goldsmith has completed a record-setting third Fulbright posting as a member of Florida State’s faculty — the first to do so — serving as a Fulbright specialist at the University of Malta in February.

“My affiliation with the Fulbright program has been an especially rewarding part of my career, and I am grateful to everyone who assisted me in achieving this milestone,” Goldsmith said.

The appointment gave the professor of Human Sciences a chance to share her expertise on a number of subjects with Maltese undergraduate students, ranging from family resource management to a discussion on changes in U.S. families, households and consumer behavior.

“I asked them about changes in their country as well,” she said. “Though personal conversations are spoken in Maltese, the classes were all conducted in English.”

Goldsmith also taught graduate students a range of topics, including sustainability, policy making, and her Model of Social Influence.

Most citizens of the small picturesque Mediterranean island nation who attend college choose the University of Malta, where they go tuition-free and receive a monthly stipend. Foreign students, such as those on study abroad or graduate programs, do pay tuition.

“The University of Malta is by far that nation’s largest college,” she said. “The students work hard to meet its stringent acceptance standards and must maintain their grades once enrolled.”

Typically, Maltese undergraduates live at home, and many have part-time jobs.

This was Goldsmith’s second trip to Malta as a Fulbright specialist — the first was in 2011. Goldsmith’s first Fulbright posting was as a Fulbright scholar to Trinidad and Tobago through the University of the West Indies in 2005-2006.

If the mission of the Fulbright program is increased mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries, then sitting in as a guest on a Maltese radio call-in show would certainly go a long way toward fulfilling that mission, as Goldsmith did.

“The topic of the day was spring cleaning,” said Goldsmith, who was able to do the Maltese-language show with an English translator. “Malta is big on public outreach and it was refreshing to be part of it. This 45-minute radio interview was the most fun because it was live and interactive, and the questions came very fast. They told me we had more calls than normal, indicating the show was a success.”

A major part of Goldsmith’s Fulbright Specialist assignment was to serve as a consultant in updating the curriculum of that university’s family and consumer sciences program.

“They were eager for an outside opinion,” said Goldsmith, who interviewed four key faculty members and their immediate supervisor about the program that is likely to add the word “health” to its name and go from a four- to three-year program. Such changes require an exhaustive two-year process to be cleared with the Maltese university system.

“It will be a lot of work, but they want to change,” Goldsmith said. “The three-year program will give them more flexibility in preparing students for government careers in fields such as nutrition and health advocacy, business careers in retail as well as for education. Faculty liked my report and they are moving forward.”

During her stay, Goldsmith met with U.S. Ambassador to Malta Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, discussing human relations and conditions in Malta and in the United States, and higher education.

“It was an incredible experience, wonderful to talk with her and see the new embassy,” Goldsmith said. The embassy is located near the center of the island in Ta’ Qali.

In addition, the appointment gave Goldsmith opportunities to exchange ideas with visiting scholars — one from Scotland’s University of Stirling and a fellow Fulbright from San Diego State University — and meet with Malta’s director of consumer policies. She also participated in a panel discussion about food and consumer issues in Malta during a food policy seminar in the Maltese capital of Valletta, which was attended by government leaders from throughout Europe.

Goldsmith acknowledged her success as a Fulbright scholar and specialist to the many capable staffers in Global Programs at the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) in the U.S. State Department and at Florida State.

Peggy Wright-Cleveland, director of Florida State’s Office of Faculty Recognition, praised Goldsmith’s tenacity in seeking the contacts to obtain the Fulbright appointments and her commitment to helping others obtain similar appointments.

“Dr. Goldsmith has a demonstrated commitment to international education and collaborative research,” Wright-Cleveland said. “Besides being awarded three Fulbright grants, Dr. Goldsmith has consistently served on Fulbright review committees at both the local and national levels for both students and scholars. Her colleagues and students at Florida State have benefitted from her experiences in Trinidad and Tobago and Malta, as have her colleagues and students abroad. We are proud to count her as one of ours.”