Forest Awarded Fulbright to China

BUFFALO, NY – Michael J. Forest, PhD, chair and associate professor of philosophy at Canisius College, is a recipient of a grant from the J. William Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program sends approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals, each year, to more than 125 countries to teach or conduct research in various fields.

Forest will use his Fulbright grant to teach at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) in Beijing, China. He will spend two semesters (10 months) at the university, instructing undergraduate and graduate students in courses on American philosophy. The subjects Forest will teach are related to his scholarship and include American transcendentalism of the 19th century and American pragmatism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“My goal is to not only introduce students to American philosophy but to introduce them to the style of teaching that is typical at American colleges and universities,” says Forest. He notes that the American educational system is orientated very differently from the Chinese. “Ours is about getting students to interpret information and critically evaluate it through discussion and questions.” The educational background of Chinese culture, explains Forest, emphasizes memorization and the ability to perform on standardized exams. “There is very little, if any, interaction between students and their professors,” he adds. “Part of my challenge will be to break down those barriers and encourage the Chinese students to engage critically in the discussion.”

This is Forest’s second Fulbright grant. He received a similar grant in 2007, which he used to teach American philosophy at Xiamen University in the Fujian province of southeast China.

Forest is a native of Detroit and holds a BA from the University of Detroit and a PhD from Marquette University.

The J. William Fulbright Scholarship is named for Senator J. William Fulbright and is the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program. It is designed to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges, which provides recipients with tuition, fees, travel and research funds for a full year.

Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities and the premier private university in Western New York.