May 18, 2004

Law professor to teach in Lithuania

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- William A. Schroeder, a long-time law professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will spend the fall semester in Lithuania through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Lithuania, which is on the Baltic Sea, has operated under three separate traditions in its history, including most recently, the civil law system, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Schroeder expects to help students and faculty think about various elements of the U.S. legal system, and how they might be integrated into some aspects of Lithuania's current system.Schroeder is participating in the Fulbright Eurofaculty Program, and will teach and participate in lectures in law schools at the University of Vilnius and the Law University of Lithuania, both of which are in Vilnius.

The Fulbright program provides grants for college and university faculty and administrators to lecture and conduct research in countries around the world.

"I'm very honored and flattered to be going," said Schroeder. "You are there as a resource, not to tell them what to do, but to provide any assistance they might want and to answer any questions they might have."

Schroeder has been at the law school for 20 years. He was an associate professor from 1984 to 1988, and became a professor in 1988. He teaches criminal law and procedure, and his courtroom handbook on Illinois evidence will be available soon.

"Fulbright Scholarships are very impressive and very important awards," said law school Dean Peter C. Alexander. "Very few people ever receive them; they are very competitive. It speaks highly of Bill's scholarly reputation that he was chosen to be a Fulbright scholar, and it reflects well on the law school and the University to have him doing his work with the universities in Lithuania."

A visiting professor will assist the law school while Schroeder is away. Schroeder will return for the spring 2005 semester.

Schroeder is looking forward to learning more about Lithuania's civil law system, which he said doesn't have "the development of law by the courts like we do."

Schroeder expects to return to the United States and write about ideas that could help this country's legal system.

"I've always thought there are a lot of ways we could tinker with our system and make it better," he said. "I'm open to how they do things. It's different, but I suspect they have some ideas that might be worth considering over here."

Supporting and fostering faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Schroeder said he appreciates the support he received from Alexander, associate law professor Wenona Y. Whitfield, assistant law professor Cindy Buys, and law school office systems specialist, Patricia J. Lynn in receiving the grant. Whitfield received a Fulbright grant in 2001 and lectured at Tsinghua University in Beijing, People's Republic of China.

The federally funded program has been in existence since 1946. In the aftermath of World War II, then-freshman U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas proposed the program as a vehicle to promote "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world."