Bauer College Associate Dean for Career and Industry Engagement Jamie Belinne recently returned from serving as a Fulbright Specialist at the Wroclaw University of Economics and Business (WUEB) in Poland.
Belinne shared valuable expertise as an innovator in career services and experiential learning while there, and is enthusiastic about sharing insights she has gained with faculty and students at Bauer College.
“They (WUEB) truly are the most generous, kind hosts anyone could ask for,” Belinne said.
While Poland’s WUEB and the University of Houston share the ultimate goal of making the educational experience more compelling and meaningful, vast differences in educational funding, career prospects and intangibles such as the importance of cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset sparked fascinating discussions, Belinne said.
“As I discovered, we have a lot to learn from each other. Because the cultural contexts we live in are so different, the solutions are completely different. It was a wonderful lesson for me and I think it will be a wonderful lesson to share with our students," she said. "It’s something you know objectively, but when you live it, it really drives it home.”
Belinne was able to share how experiential learning has become a hallmark for Bauer’s success in training workforce-ready graduates.
“At WUEB, they have a habit of letting students look at what companies are doing through guest speakers, but they weren’t accustomed to actually letting students work in a group on a company’s real problem, in a partnership with that company,” she said. “They were excited about hearing the best ways to facilitate that.”
As a visiting Fulbright Specialist, Belinne took part in the school’s podcasts and interacted in numerous ways with faculty, administrators and students.
Her favorite experience was taking part in a virtual reality lab where students are able to create and experience business-related simulations.
And Belinne was able to suggest income-generating activities that are routine for U.S. career development centers, but which can help fund more extensive career training programs in Poland. Since returning to the United States, she has also been able to connect professors at WUEB with those at Bauer to collaborate online on teaching and programming.
Fulbright Specialists are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the United States and abroad.