April 05, 2006

McCubbin to travel to China as Fulbright Scholar

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Patricia Ross McCubbin, an assistant law professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will spend the spring 2007 semester in China through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

McCubbin, a member of the law school faculty since 2000, learned earlier last month she received a Fulbright Scholar grant. She expects to spend five months in China, beginning in mid-January.

"I'm very honored and excited to have been chosen," said McCubbin, whose promotion to associate law professor becomes effective in August.

The Fulbright program, now in its 60th year, provides grants for college and university faculty and administrators to lecture and conduct research in countries around the world. Program officials indicate about 800 faculty and professionals from the United States will travel to approximately 150 countries through the scholar program during the 2006-2007 academic year.

The program was the creation of then freshman U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas as a way to promote "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries," according to the organization.

While in China, McCubbin expects to utilize her diverse environmental law background with law students, Chinese scholars and governmental officials. Prior to joining the law school faculty, McCubbin was an attorney with the Environmental Defense Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Before beginning her career with the Justice Department she was in private practice, also focusing on environmental laws.

She teaches environmental law and administrative law at SIUC.

"I am very pleased that Professor McCubbin will be sharing her environmental law expertise in China," Dean Peter A. Alexander said. "She is a gifted classroom instructor, and I know that her international students will learn a lot from her. A Fulbright fellowship is a great honor, and I am excited to add Professor McCubbin to the list of School of Law faculty who have received them."

McCubbin's selection marks the third time a member of the law school's faculty received the Fulbright honor. Associate law professor and associate dean for academic affairs Wenona Y. Whitfield is a two-time Fulbright grant recipient, spending time as a visiting law professor in 1991-92 at the University of Ghana, and in 2001 at Tsinghua University in Beijing, People's Republic of China. Professor William A. Schroeder was a Fulbright grant recipient in fall 2004 and taught in Vilnius, Lithuania. Lynn M. Malley, a visiting clinical assistant professor, spent two years as a Fulbright Scholar in Belgrade, Serbia, before coming to SIUC last summer.

McCubbin sees her primary task in China as lecturing to Chinese law students – who one day will become government officials shaping environmental laws.

China, according to McCubbin, "is at a very fascinating stage in developing its environmental laws." It will be "fascinating to go to China and watch as they develop their air pollution and water pollution regulatory mechanisms."

In addition to sharing environmental lessons learned in the U.S. with Chinese students and officials, McCubbin also hopes to help in more direct ways in her interactions with colleagues. Her goal is to discuss what has worked well and has not worked well in the United States, and at the same time, learn what the Chinese do well that could work in the United States.

China is facing "enormous environmental challenges," particularly with air and water

pollution, as it tries to protect the environment and continue as the world's fastest growing economy, she said.

McCubbin and her husband, Eric, who will also go to China, live in rural Cobden.

"We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity," she said.

McCubbin earned her bachelor's degree in political and social thought from the University of Virginia in 1985, graduating with high honors. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990.

Supporting and fostering faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.


(Note: Madison, Wis., editors: McCubbin's mother, Ann Ross, and her two sisters and their families live in Madison.)

Patricia Ross McCubbin

Patricia Ross McCubbin
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