Bulletin News

Professor Named Fulbright Specialist in Malaysia


Edward Caffarella, a SUNY Cortland professor and former dean who specializes in educational leadership and administration, was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant for a project aimed at raising education standards in Malaysia.

Caffarella will work with education scholars and administrators at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur for a little more than a month, starting on April 24. He’ll return to the U.S. on May 26. The visit is intended to foster linkages between the University of Malaya and SUNY Cortland, and Caffarella will continue to serve as a consultant to the university after his return.

“Cumulatively, Professor Edward Caffarella’s presence is expected to contribute much toward the faculty development and the university performance,” said Suseela Malakolunthu, an associate professor in the University of Malaya’s Department of Educational Management. “(He) will assist us in strengthening our educational leadership programs, developing the faculty members’ professional capabilities through workshops and seminars, and inspiring our students via talks.”

The University of Malaya is working to improve its global academic rankings to become one of the top 100 research universities in the world. Currently, it is ranked 156th by QS World University Rankings.

Malaysia is a multi-cultural federation of states based on the historic Malay Kingdoms that runs along the southern end of the South China Sea.

“Malaysia, a convergence of people from three of the four largest countries including China, India, and Indonesia, provides an amazing microcosm to study the major cultures of the world,” said Caffarella, describing his interest in the assignment.

The Fulbright Specialist Program promotes partnerships between U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. The program is designed to award grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals to engage in short-term, collaborative, two- to six -week projects at host institutions in more than 160 countries worldwide. 

The program will cover Caffarella’s travel expenses and provide a stipend for collaborating with Malaysian scholars and helping the university’s departments meet their requirement to assess, evaluate and improve both the quality of their programs and the performance of faculty members, Malakolunthu said.

Caffarella was the first dean of SUNY Cortland’s School of Education, and has taught in the Educational Leadership Department since 2007. He is a nationally recognized figure in the field of teacher education and educational technology , and was selected for the prestigious grant by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).

Through the program, Caffarella will become the University of Malaya’s long-term consulting expert on department-level programs and courses. He will serve as a reference point for curricular decision-making and a contact for student and faculty exchange programs. The goal is for Caffarella to serve as a catalyst in promoting positive changes at the department and faculty levels and as a source of intellectual inspiration and guidance.

His involvement is expected to foster many institutional links with SUNY Cortland. These might include faculty co-teaching and co-supervision exchanges; study abroad opportunities for students on both campuses; collaborative research and scholarly publication; and shared conferences and seminars.

Caffarella has served on the Board of Examiners for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. He developed and tested the Institutional Accreditation Readiness Model for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Caffarella has amassed more than 100 refereed national presentations, journal articles, books and research proceedings. He has written extensively about the educational technology field and has developed computer software. Caffarella has been involved with nearly 20 funded grant proposals, which have been awarded in excess of $1.5 million from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Education.

Caffarella joined SUNY Cortland in 2003 to help establish a new School of Education as a separate entity from the School of Professional Studies. He served until 2006 as the school’s first full-time dean, overseeing four academic departments and four related programs.

Previously, Caffarella was a professor emeritus of educational technology at the University of Northern Colorado and president of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. A native of Saugus, Mass., he earned a B.S. in Community Leadership and Development from Springfield (Mass.) College, a M.Ed. in Educational Media, Systems and Technology from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in Instructional Development and Technology from Michigan State University.

In becoming a Fulbright Specialist, Caffarella joins the ranks of distinguished scholars and professionals worldwide who have been selected as leaders in the educational, political, economic, social and cultural lives of their countries by this international academic exchange program, which was founded in 1946 by the U.S. government. By accepting the grant, he makes a five-year commitment to provide  short-term consultations in his field of expertise, if needed.