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Dear Northern California Fulbrighters & Alums,

It's been a busy spring, with events all over the Bay Area - from San Jose to Sonoma. We have a number of events in the works for the Fall, so keep an eye out for more details. We're always open to contributions from our members, so please email us if you'd like to write a section, announce an event, or be profiled in the next newsletter. Wishing you a wonderful summer and we hope to see you at an upcoming event!

The Board of the Northern California Chapter of the Fulbright Association
Fulbright alumna profile: Kathleen Taylor

A professor for the last 25 years at Saint Mary’s College of California, in Moraga, Kathleen Taylor tells her doctoral students that though she started college shortly before her 17th birthday, she didn’t graduate until she was nearly 40. “I dropped out the first time because I was immature, the second because I was pregnant, the third because being an anti-Vietnam War activist was far more important than whatever I was learning at UC Berkeley.” The fourth time worked, not least because the program—an outgrowth of the University Without Walls movement—was designed specifically for mature, “non-traditional” learners.

This bumpy educational history sparked the passion that informed her subsequent career. Having experienced how education can transform the lives of re-entry adults, her research and award-winning publications have focused on the connections between adult learning and adult development.

“Adult development isn’t about the maturity that comes with age,” Kathleen explains. “It’s about learning to perceive yourself and the world around you through increasingly complex lenses. We all grow up with culturally circumscribed beliefs. They are valuable in guiding adolescents to meet the expectations of responsible adulthood within one’s community, but they eventually limit our understanding and acceptance of those whom we were taught to perceive as not like us.”

Kathleen’s research focuses on how adults can learn to engage more effectively as caring and courageous citizens of an increasingly globalized village, and her Fulbright stint in Greece in 2013 underscored the critical importance of developing this capacity. Her most recent book, Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind (co-authored with Catherine Marienau of DePaul University), distinguishes between learning focused primarily on information as compared with transformation. Though she acknowledges the value of both, “the former focuses on knowing more—a quantitative approach that elaborates on one’s current fund of knowledge, whereas the latter is about seeing differently—a qualitative approach that can literally change one’s mind.”

When the point of adult learning is to know “in more multifaceted ways—such as questioning what one already ‘knows’ and possibly creating an as yet unimagined, more encompassing vision of what might be—information accrual doesn’t cut it.” Adults don’t realize that their brains tend to hang on to the beliefs they have spent their lives constructing and confirming. Revising long-established neural networks takes more energy than taking the familiar route, so the brain often defaults to the easier pathway.

If information was itself transformative, she points out, “no one would eat or drink to excess, smoke, or fail to buckle their seat belts. More importantly, no one would assume that people who did not share their views were wrong, stupid, or less deserving of being heard and respected.”

Facilitating Learning is not for specialists, Kathleen says. “In fact, my coauthor and I initially tried to find a book about the brain and adult learning that was neither too abstract nor too technical, but still accurate and meaningful. We eventually realized that if we wanted it, we would have to write it.”

Their book often describes the brain and its functions in analogical rather than anatomical terms and weaves in research drawn from psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind. As one example, they use the metaphor of the curious and anxious brain—terms not found in neuroscience—along with engaging illustrations to explain why adults respond as they do in many commonplace situations.

They also provide dozens of approaches that accord with how the adult brain learns—or avoids learning—contributed by experienced practitioners on five continents. “The variety of approaches are relevant for educators, trainers, or coaches in formal and informal settings, and also for organizational members and supervisors—essentially, for anyone who is curious about the brain.”

The timing of Kathleen’s six-month Fulbright stint in Athens, Greece provided a hiatus from writing the book. However, it also underscored the transformative potential of engaging in new cultural environments. She maintains contact with Greek colleagues, some of whom contributed materially to Facilitating Learning. Kathleen welcomes communications from Fulbrighters and can be reached via the “contact us” tab on www.embodiedbrains.org.
 
Your help needed! 

Urge Congress to support educational exchange funding.

Our friends at the Alliance for International Exchange have urged us all to send as many letters as we can to Congress regarding the 2016 omnibus. You can do your part in three simple steps:
  1. Visit this website: http://capwiz.com/alliance-exchange/issues/alert/?alertid=68472626&PROCESS=Take+Action
  2. Add your details and personalize the templated message.
  3. Send your message!
Winter/spring event photos
Raphael & Bonnard at the Legion of Honor: Fulbright alumna Esther Bell, Curator in Charge of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the de Young and the Legion of Honor, led Fulbrighters through two exhibitions at the Legion of Honor this February.
San Jose Tech Museum: On April 9, Fulbrighters gathered at the San Jose Tech Museum for a tour and reception where attendees were able to meet fellow Fulbrighters.
Fulbrighters gather for a photo after the tour at the Tech Museum.
Attendees gather for a wine and cheese reception after touring the museum.
Stuart Canin and the Lee Trio at Nicholson Ranch: In the beginning of May, Nicholson Ranch Winery generously hosted Fulbrighters to listen to the Lee Trio and Stuart Canin. Two of the Lee sisters, as well as Stuart Canin, are Fulbright alumni.
The Trio & Stuart Canin play for Fulbrighters and wine club members.
The sisters and Stuart hosted a Q&A after their performance, covering everything from their musical training to Stuart's Stradivarius.
From left to right: Bob Schock (N. Cal Fulbright Chapter President), Angela Lee, Stuart Canin, Melinda Lee Masur, Nancy Morales (Board Member), Deepak Gulrajani (Owner & Winemaker of Nicholson Ranch Winery), and Lisa Lee.
 
Event Calendar
  • Joint event with the German Consulate (date to be determined)
  • Fulbright Advocacy Day with keynote speaker Chancellor Nicholas Dirks of UC Berkeley - in San Francisco with the World Affairs Council (tentatively Oct. 17th)
Stay in Touch
 
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Email us: ncalfulbright@gmail.com

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SMC San Francisco Alumni Chapter · 1928 Saint Marys Road · Moraga, CA 94556 · USA

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