CSUSM Welcomes its First Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence

Sharing his passion and expertise in classical and contemporary Spanish theatre, Rafael Rodríguez, a professor and theatre director from the Spanish Canary Islands, is the first Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). One of only 46 scholars worldwide to receive the prestigious award this year, Rodríguez will spend nine months at the University teaching upper-division courses, providing community lectures, collaborating with local actors, and volunteering his time conducting drama workshops for local at-risk youth.

The Fulbright Program, which is designed to increase mutual understanding between nations, is an international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and offered in more than 155 countries. One of its programs, the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence program, brings international scholars to university campuses for a semester or academic year to teach undergraduate courses, assist in developing curricula, and diversify student and faculty experiences.

For the last ten years, Rodríguez, a professor of theatrical arts at The School of Actors in the Canary Islands (EAC), has been teaching courses in drama, performance art, theatre design, and stage production. In addition to being a full-time professor, Rodríguez also manages and directs a professional repertory company, 2RC Teatro, which performs classical and contemporary productions internationally.

Rodríguez first became acquainted with CSUSM in the spring of 2008, and then again in 2009, when his company performed a fully-Spanish theatre production on the campus as part of their world tour. "El alcalde de Zalamea" (The Mayor of Zalamea) and "El Perro del Hortelano" (The Dog in the Manger) were both performed to full houses and attracted visitors from as far north as Los Angeles.

"Our students and community have benefitted tremendously from his campus visits, performances, and outreach," said Dr. Darci Strother, professor of Spanish and director of the Office of Community Service Learning at CSUSM. "We're honored to welcome back Rafael to enrich student knowledge and understanding of Spanish theatre."

Awarded a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence grant for the 2010-2011 academic year, Rodríguez, along with his wife and two young children, made the temporary move to San Marcos in August.

"This time, as a Fulbright Scholar, it's a different experience," he explained. "I'm able to interact daily with students to educate and expose them to the actuality of Spanish life and theatre, and share with them how the performing arts have influenced and are intertwined with the culture of Spain. It is inspiring to be able to work with the students and faculty at Cal State San Marcos. I look forward to being able to continue to expand my reach and further my connection with the campus and community."

Picture of Rafael Rodriguez

"Our students and community have benefitted tremendously from his campus visits, performances, and outreach," said Dr. Darci Strother, professor of Spanish and director of the Office of Community Service Learning at CSUSM.