2002 - Paul Ilsley

Paul Ilsley

University of Helsinki

I was a Fulbrighter at the University of Helsinki in 2002 in what is now called the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences. I studied and conducted research on active citizenship, voting patterns, and traditional expressions of citizenship as seen in folk schools, study circles and Finnish civil society. I also taught ethnographic research and gave lectures.

During the six years since the Fulbright experience, I continue to work in Finland half time. Among my experiences is a two-year guest professorship with the University of Tampere, a consultantship with the Academy of Science, a Project Directorship of an EU Social Fund grant, and a Docentship with the University of Helsinki. I have advised four Finnish doctoral students through completion, taught many courses, and conducted a number of research studies. I cannot seem to easily leave this place.

Meanwhile, back at Northern Illinois University, I continue as Professor of Educational Research, though soon I will leave NIU. The cross-cultural exchange has been an important feature of my US-based work-- many Finnish scholars visit there, including two Finnish doctoral students, and a number of short-term study scholars and delegations. As well, many American doctoral students and professors have visited Finland from NIU on short-term study abroad opportunities. Together we have developed a number of online opportunities for collaboration, teaching, and research.

Most importantly, I am now married to a wonderful Finnish woman named Helena. We are expecting our first child this coming December. We live half of the year in Finland and half of the year in the U.S. (soon we will move from Illinois to Claremont, California). The trick is to hit the seasons just right.

The Fulbright experience opened many doors for me and changed everything, perhaps more than anything.