Dr. Sharon Beaudry at Southern African Wildlife College
Dr. Sharon Beaudry at Southern African Wildlife College

The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board awarded a Fulbright grant to Dr. Sharon Beaudry of Oregon Institute of Technology. Dr. Beaudry, a business professor, spent September completing a project at the Southern African Wildlife College in South Africa.

The Fulbright program aims to exchange knowledge and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities both in the U.S. and overseas through various educational and training activities. Beaudry is one of over 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Program each year. Recipients of Fulbright Specialist awards are selected based on academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), an applied learning institution located within the borders of Kruger National Park, is a leader in developing and training professionals in the conservation sector. The college provides programs in natural resource management, community and youth development, responsible resource use and protected area integrity. They train field guides, park rangers, and natural resource managers and also run canine and aerial support units to support applied counter-poaching projects.

James Danoff-Burg (Fulbright), Theresa Sowry (College’s CEO & President), Sharon Beaudry (Fulbright)
James Danoff-Burg, Theresa Sowry and Sharon Beaudry

Beaudry, who has expertise in business strategy, human resources and accreditation, spent a month helping SAWC build quality measures for their strategic plan. Working alongside Anelle Rautenbach, the college’s head of quality management and accreditation, the project’s goal was to build out the college’s strategic plan’s balanced approach that supports its holistic mission of conservation.

Theresa Sowry, CEO (President) of the College, notes, “The SAWC encapsulates a learning-by-doing approach to training and development. We continually try to improve our own systems and processes through this approach and having professor Beaudry with us for a month has highlighted areas where we can become more efficient and effective in work application and product delivery.”

During Beaudry’s visit, another Fulbright, Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, Cali., aided the college in developing their new three-year blended learning diploma program. Both Danoff-Burg and Beaudry worked with the academic units to advance applied approaches and best practices in online course design and pedagogy.

Beaudry is quick to point out that her time at the college was a truly immersive experience supporting Fulbright’s mission of “exchange.” Beaudry shared, “The folks at the college were wonderful hosts, continually offering me opportunities to learn about the work they do. From the very beginning, I was invited on game drives to learn about the greater Kruger area and its inhabitants. There was nothing like sharing the excitement of a rare wild dog spotting with both colleagues and students.”

Beaudry on a game drive with student in the Field Guide program
Beaudry on a game drive with students in the Field Guide program

Beaudry and Rautenbach plan to continue their collaboration in the future to support the build-out of the college’s strategic plan measurements and operational effectiveness. Beaudry also intends to share outcomes from her experience with the Oregon Tech community. Beaudry adds, “Since my return, my students are eager to learn more about my experience in South Africa. As a professor of the business senior project series, I’m looking forward to sharing how I used many of the same business tools and processes that students will be using in their own senior projects. And this also shows them business can be applied everywhere – including an exciting South African experience.”

Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, mentioned Beaudry’s Fulbright award for the project in South Africa is an example of international recognition of excellence at Oregon Tech. “I congratulate professor Beaudry on being awarded a Fulbright grant. This is a special honor for her and Oregon Tech. Professor Beaudry’s project in South Africa is a fine example of the benefit of shared knowledge. The partnership she has established with the Southern African Wildlife College and other Fulbright awardees will enrich her teaching for all of her students and, in turn, benefit their learning immensely.”

Oregon Tech Business Degrees include nine programs: Accounting, Business Management, Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Health Care Management, Health Informatics, Marketing, Operations Management, Technology & Management. These programs are offered at the Klamath Falls campus, and many are also offered in the Portland-Metro campus and Online.