BW Professor Wins Fulbright Award

March 1, 2013

Thomas Sutton, professor of political science at Baldwin Wallace University, has been selected to receive a Fulbright Scholar grant that will fund a semester of scholarly work in Ghana.

Dr. Sutton will spend the January - May 2014 semester teaching three political history courses at Ghana's University of the Cape Coast. He will also conduct research into the parallels between recent presidential elections in the West African nation and the United States.

“I’ve been told the people in Ghana closely followed the two election cycles here involving President Obama and that they were influenced by his campaign themes, particularly in 2008,” Sutton said.

Studying High Tech Voter Fraud Reduction

In his research, Sutton also plans to examine how Ghana deployed a high tech “biometric verification system” to match voter fingerprints at polling stations in the December 2012 national election. “They really leapfrogged over us in the use of technology,” Sutton said.

In spite of the cutting edge system, aimed at reducing fraud, the election results have been embroiled in a Ghana Supreme Court challenge claiming the polls were rigged in favor of the narrow winner.

Blending Academic and Family Goals

The core Fulbright Scholar Program sends a distinguished group of U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year to lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. It is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

"I'm honored and deeply grateful to the Fulbright Program for making this exchange possible," Sutton said.

Sutton, his wife and two teenaged children will relocate to Ghana for the semester and his children will attend school there. "I have both scholarly and personal interest in Africa. Our children are African-American and biracial," he said. "We want to explore this part of our family's history and culture by living in and learning about Ghana and West Africa."

About the Fulbright Scholar Program

The Fulbright Program was proposed to the U.S. Congress in 1945 by then freshman Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. In the aftermath of World War II, Senator Fulbright viewed the proposed program as a much-needed vehicle for promoting "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world." Congress approved his vision and President Truman signed the program into law in 1946. The United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the program. 

About the University of Cape Coast

The University of Cape Coast is one of the rare sea front universities in the world. It was established in October 1962 as a University College and placed in a special relationship with the University of Ghana, Legon. In 1971, the College attained the status of a full and independent University, with the authority to confer its own degrees, diplomas and certificates by an Act of Parliament. From an initial student enrollment of 155 in 1963, the University now has a total student population of over 35,922.