Centre College literally searched the world for a director of its new Lincoln Scholars Program and hired an accomplished academic and administrator from Yamaguchi Prefectural University (YPU) in Japan.
Robert Schalkoff, who currently oversees YPU’s Program for the Development of Global Talent and serves as a faculty member in the Department of Intercultural Studies, will begin his new duties at Centre on July 5, 2016.
The hire matches perfectly with the nature of Centre’s newest premier scholarship program, according to President John A. Roush.
“The donors specified that this prestigious scholarship be offered to students who possess the capacity and deep desire to change the world,” Roush said, “and we are fortunate to have found in Robert someone with a truly global perspective.”
Schalkoff couldn’t be happier about his selection.
“I am grateful for the opportunity not only to become a member of the Centre community but also to engage in the rewarding activity of building a program of lasting significance at an institution I know and respect,” Schalkoff said.
“The challenge and promise of this endeavor are very exciting,” he added, “and I am prepared to devote all my energy to working with this extraordinary group of students and building the program into national prominence.”
Schalkoff brings nearly 20 years experience in higher education to this appointment, the last six of which he served as director of two university-wide programs, and more than 25 years of international experience.
A native of East Hanover, N.J., Schalkoff earned his B.S. degree in music education at Lebanon Valley College. He later added an M.A.T. from the School for International Training and is a doctoral candidate for the Ed.D. degree at Northern Illinois University. His dissertation topic is “Internationalization in faculty members in higher education.”
No stranger to Centre, Schalkoff has worked closely with the College since 2001, helping build a vibrant and lasting student exchange between YPU and Centre.
“I have enjoyed working with Centre students in and out of the classroom,” Schalkoff said, “and students from both institutions have thrived in the program.” It has not been uncommon for Schalkoff to write letters of recommendation for Centre students later wanting to return to Japan to work in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program or as Fulbright Scholars.
Working with Centre’s Milton Reigelman, director of the Center for Global Citizenship, Schalkoff also helped create faculty and staff exchanges beginning in 2009.
A number of collaborative projects evolved from these exchanges, including a 20-plus member delegation of students, faculty members and Kyogen actors from Yamaguchi who travelled to Centre for the Winter Plum Festival in February 2015. The visit was reciprocated earlier this year when a group of 15 students and two faculty members from Centre visited YPU for the second half of a three-week CentreTerm course in January 2016.
The Lincoln Scholars Program at Centre College was made possible by an anonymous donor whose $20 million challenge gift created the full-ride-plus scholarship program that will begin in the fall of 2016 with 10 inaugural recipients. Ten additional Lincoln Scholars will be selected for each subsequent entering class, with 40 Lincoln Scholars enrolled by the fall of 2019.
In addition to covering full tuition, fees and room and board for four years, Lincoln Scholars will also receive three summers of enrichment experiences beginning their sophomore year for study abroad, internships or undergraduate research.
The scholarship is named for the Kentucky native and 16th president of the United States, whose first law partner was Centre alumnus John Todd Stuart, Class of 1826. A statue by Louisville artist Ed Hamilton of a young Lincoln holding a law book lent to him by Stuart, who encouraged his studies, stands outside of Centre’s Crounse Hall.
by Michael Strysick
March 7, 2016