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Crunkilton receives senior Fulbright grant

By Jill Brubaker, University Relations intern

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 04 - September 14, 1995

John R. Crunkilton, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has received a J. I. William Fulbright grant to develop a curriculum for the American farm school in Greece for the 1995 fall semester.

While in Thessaloniki, a city in northern Greece, Crunkilton will be working with Thessaloniki Agricultural and Industrial Institute, a boarding school for high-school students. "My major purpose will be to help create a post-secondary program which will offer associate degrees in agriculture," Crunkilton said.

Crunkilton has worked closely with the farm school since 1983, when he received his first Fulbright grant. "Originally, I went to Greece to aid in the professional development of the faculty. This included the improvement of teaching, development of curriculum, and the expansion of their library," he said. Since then, he has traveled to Greece 12 or 13 times to help with various programs.

"Many times I've worked with professors, high school principals, and other educators who travel to the farm school from as far away as Africa for several weeks of workshops that aid in the planning of their educational programs," Crunkilton said. Now, he has received his second Fulbright grant, referred to as a senior Fulbright.

"It's very unusual to get a second grant, because generally Fulbright grants are given to people who haven't had international experience," Crunkilton said.

However, because of the restructuring of many programs, and the fact that post-secondary programs in agriculture are not well developed in Europe, Crunkilton's expertise probably helped him obtain the grant.

"They'd like to begin enrollment in this post-secondary program by 1996," he said, thus making it a priority. "In addition, we're hoping to make it a regional program, including surrounding countries such as Albania and Bulgaria."

Crunkilton has been at Virginia Tech since 1969. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University in agricultural education, a master's and a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in animal science and agricultural education. Crunkilton received Virginia Tech's Alumni Teaching Excellence Award in 1991 and the University Certificate of Teaching Excellence in 1989. He also received the College of Education's Annual Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence, the distinguished lecturer for the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture in 1987, and various other awards. He has worked in many international settings including Albania, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Portugal, Swaziland, and Yemen.

Under the Fulbright Program, Crunkilton is one of approximately 2,000 U.S. grantees who will travel abroad for the 1995-96 academic year. Established in 1946 by legislation sponsored by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program is designed "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Some 4,700 grants are awarded each year under the program to students, teachers, and scholars world-wide to study, teach, and conduct research in foreign countries. Individuals are selected on the basis of academic and professional qualifications, plus their ability and willingness to share ideas and experiences with people of diverse cultures.

When asked what makes him keep going back to Greece, Crunkilton said, "After a while, I developed working relationships with these people and they asked me back. It's always nice to go back because everyone appreciates everything I do. Working with the people, addressing their problems, and helping them work towards their goals is very rewarding."