Professor Looking to Open New Doors Through Fulbright Specialist Roster Tenure

After a seven-month Fulbright Scholar Service in South Africa in 2019, Peter Glendinning, Professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, has been granted a four-year tenure on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. His tenure began June 11, 2021, and runs through June 11, 2025.

A smiling man with gray hair wearing light blue glasses and holding a camera. Behind him are two framed photos.
Professor Peter Glendinning
(Photo by Basil Brady Photography)

Established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Specialist Roster is a highly sought-after and competitive program that pairs qualified professionals and academics from the United States, like Glendinning, with host institutions abroad so they may hone their skills, strengthen institutional cooperation, and learn about other cultures while applying their knowledge and expertise to a diverse array of activities and projects at the host institutions. 

“This honor will give me further opportunities to share my expertise worldwide on behalf of the Department of Art, Art History, and Design; the College of Arts & Letters; and Michigan State University,” Glendinning said. “While the Specialist roles are shorter in time period, they provide opportunities to create a foundation for long-term impact and development of relationships with host institutions in research, teaching, service, and in people-to-people ways. The Specialist program is designed to permit U.S. experts to serve abroad without the long-term commitment and time away from regular research and academic duties required by the Fulbright Scholar program. It is also a program based more on serving host institution needs, which is a great fit with MSU’s foundational commitment to outreach and service.” 

Photo of two men sitting next to each other. In front of them is a table with photography equipment
Professor Peter Glendinning (left) during his Fulbright fellowship to South Africa in 2019 with Victor Matom (right), a photographer who teaches photography in Soweto, South Africa.

Representing a wide range of professional and academic disciplines, Fulbright Specialists are selected to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster based on their knowledge, skill sets, and ability to make a significant contribution to projects overseas. Individuals who have been approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster may then be matched with approved projects designed by foreign host institutions from more than 150 countries. Once abroad, Specialists partner with their host institution to conduct project activities in support of the host institution’s priorities and goals.  

I am looking forward to creating positive impacts for host institutions, their students, and their communities in future Specialist roles wherever they occur.

Professor Peter Glendinning

A Professional Photographer and worldwide expert in his field, Glendinning has worked with clients such as Fujifilm, Panasonic, the United Auto Workers (UAW), General Motors, and other Fortune 500 businesses. He is also recognized for his expertise in online education, through the success of a series of photography courses on the Coursera platform, authored with MSU Music Professor and Science Gallery Creative Director Mark Sullivan.

He recently spoke with the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, and university colleagues at a number of institutions there, about possible ways his expertise could be applied in the Specialist role, finding that “being a Fulbright Specialist has already begun to open doors for me both as an individual and as an outreach/service representative of Michigan State University.”

Photo of two men standing side by side in an art gallery. The man on the left is pointing at a photo on the wall.
Professors Peter Glendinning (left) and Mark Sullivan (right) in fall 2016 with the photography exhibit at MSU’s Kresge Art Center that featured photos taken by students of their Coursera photography course.

As a Fulbright Scholar in 2019, Glendinning shared his American experience with citizens of South Africa curious about the United States, and he values the opportunity to do the same in his upcoming Fulbright Specialist projects. Fulbright Specialists are not only professional experts, they also act as cultural ambassadors of the United States.

During his time in South Africa, Glendinning lectured at 16 universities while creating a collaborative project based on the aspirations for that nation expressed by President Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural address and those of the “Born Free” generation of youth he collaborated with in the 25th anniversary year of that event.

“It was one of the most profoundly moving experiences emotionally, most intensely productive experiences creatively, and most positive reinforcements of my belief in the strength of the human spirit, that I have had in my life,” Glendinning said. “I am looking forward to creating positive impacts for host institutions, their students, and their communities in future Specialist roles wherever they occur.”