February 2024

UMB Named Fulbright Top Producing Institution

February 15, 2024    |  

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has recognized the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) for being a Fulbright Top Producing Institution for 2023-2024. Colleges and universities that receive this honor have the highest number of faculty and administrators selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which provides funding for international opportunities. UMB was cited in the Special Four-Year Institution category, along with 10 other colleges and universities. 


The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program. Two scholars from UMB were selected for Fulbright awards for academic year 2023-24. Among them is Martha Ertman, JD, professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Ertman has been awarded a Fulbright Canada Traditional Scholar Award for the spring 2024 semester.  

Deeply affected by the racial injustice that rose in awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic, she developed her Fulbright project around a resolution to focus her work in contracts and commercial law to address this issue. Ertman’s work on contract-based reparations for racial injustice has taken her to McGill University in Montreal to teach and conduct research. 

In recent years, Ertman has worked to develop a contract-based way to approach the idea of reparations for past racial injustice, reasoning that because contracts have been historically discriminatory, they can be designed to right past and current wrongs. Her theoretical work at McGill involves how racial wealth disparities breach the social contract, and she has cited Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) summary report “94 Calls to Action” as an important source in her research. TRC was formed in 2008 as part of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and the commission's findings and recommendations focus on redressing the harm resulting from the schools. 

“I wanted to study reparations in Canada as a remedy for breach of the social contract because Canada's made more progress than the U.S. regarding reparations for mass harms to Indigenous groups, especially regarding state-sponsored residential boarding schools,” Ertman said. “Since my grant began in January 2024, McGill University and Montreal have provided many parallels between Canadian and U.S. racial harms and reparations for them. Here, fellow Fulbright Rashida Braggs and I are attending a Black History Month lecture by Dr. Melanie Newton on Afro-Indigenous reparations in the Caribbean, which provided framework for understanding overlapping histories and claims of both Indigenous peoples and those of the African diaspora. Discussions with Canadian law faculty likewise show how Canada's legal education incorporates Indigenous law and anti-racism into its curriculum in ways that would enrich U.S. law schools.” 

Marlene Matarese, PhD, MSW, who is a former clinical associate professor and deputy director of the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, received a Fulbright award in social work to Galway, Ireland, for the 2023-2024 academic year. She is currently an associate research professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. 

The focus of Matarese’s work has been improving access to and the quality of systems and services for children and youth with public system involvement. As a Fulbright Scholar, she is at the University of Galway School of Political Science and Sociology, where she is leading a research project on foster care experiences of LGBTQ+ youth who have transitioned out of care. Matarese also is reviewing social work practice curricula to embed LGBTQ+ content throughout, mentor students, and lecture across the region. 

The designation as a Fulbright Top Producing Institution comes not long after the UMB’s Center for Global Engagement (CGE) launched its Focus on Fulbright Initiative to increase the University’s student representation in this prestigious international program. This spring, CGE is hosting webinars and workshops for students interested in applying for the 2025-2026 competition. UMB faculty interested in applying during the 2024 cycle also are encouraged to contact CGE for advice and resources.  

Applications for the next cycle of Fulbright awards will open in late March or early April 2024. To learn more, visit CGE’s Focus on Fulbright webpage. 

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad. Ertman and Matarese are among over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach or conduct research abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.