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University announces first Distinguished Lecturer of the year

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is pleased to announce that it will begin its 2010-2011 University Distinguished Lecturer Series with a presentation by award-winning journalist Karin Fischer, who serves as a senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Fischer will deliver her talk The New China: A Rising Superpower Opts for Brainpower Rather than Manpower, and Looks to U.S. Colleges to Help It Succeed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9 in the University's Campus Center. The event serves as a homecoming of sorts for Fischer, who grew up in Presque Isle and is a 1992 graduate of Presque Isle High School.

In her work with The Chronicle, Fischer covers the business of international education and the globalization of higher education, including competition for foreign students, activities by American colleges overseas, policies and programs that affect the international activities of American colleges, and the internationalization of the college experience. She also writes about the role of colleges and universities in economic development in their town, state, and region.

Fischer recently traveled throughout Asia as a participant in the East-West Center's 2010 Jefferson Fellowship program. For decades, Fischer explained, China was a closed society, one that emphasized agrarian, egalitarian values and in which education was suspect. But in recent years, that has begun to change.

"As China has engaged more – politically, culturally, and economically – it has come to see education as key to its success in an increasingly interconnected global marketplace. That's true on a policy level, as the government ploughs money into classrooms and research labs, and on the personal one, as families husband savings to send their only children abroad for a top-notch college education," Fischer said. "Likewise, colleges and universities, in the United States and elsewhere, have sought greater engagement in China: recruiting its students, sending American undergraduates to study there, and seeking robust academic partnerships with Chinese institutions."

Fischer was hired by The Chronicle in 2004 to write about higher-education politics and policy in the states. The Chronicle of Higher Education is an independent national magazine and website that covers issues important to colleges and universities. With more than 70 full-time writers and editors, as well as 17 foreign correspondents around the world, The Chronicle is the preeminent American source for higher-education news.

Prior to her work with The Chronicle, Fischer covered banking, insurance, and corporate governance for Kiplinger Washington Editors. Before that, she worked for MediaNews Group as a Washington correspondent, for the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail as their statehouse reporter, and for the Daily Hampshire (Mass.) Gazette as a general-assignment reporter and copy editor. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Monthly and George magazines.

Fischer has been a guest on National Public Radio and C-SPAN. She also is the recipient of the Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship and a National Press Foundation fellowship on the Business of Higher Education. She is part of reporting teams that have been honored by the Education Writers Association, for articles in The Global Campus and Asia Rising/America Falling series, and by the Utne Independent Press Award for best political coverage. In 1997, she was selected for the Poynter Institute News Reporting & Writing Fellowship for College Graduates, which recognizes a dozen outstanding young journalists annually. Fischer earned her B.A. in government from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. in 1996.

The University's Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

Fischer's lecture is free and the public is invited to be a part of this special evening. All are invited to a reception for Fischer in the Alumni Room immediately following her presentation. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the University's Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452.