08:21 AM

Positive Change Through Strategy

UHD’s First Fulbright Specialist Dr. Candace TenBrink on Her Project in Moldova


By Marie Jacinto

tenbrink squareAs a Fulbright Specialist, UHD Associate Professor of Management Candace TenBrink is serving as a consultant to Alecu Russo Balti State University in Bǎlți, Moldova, where she spent the earlier part of February. “My goal is to create a strategic plan that will enhance the capabilities and footprint of a technology and innovation center. As part of the process, I met with many critical stakeholders, not only at the host university, but also in the region. There is great anticipation that this new technology and innovation center will build a stronger pipeline of public-private collaborations, invigorate the economy, and build the capacity for entrepreneurial talent.”

While there, she also gave a lecture on Strategic Positioning in the Global Economy - A Life Cycle View.

Dr. TenBrink plans to return in May to finish the project. “I came home from my first trip with deeper knowledge about Moldova, how the citizens think about political and technological change, what they feel about potentially entering the EU, and how they have responded to the Russia-Ukraine war,” said TenBrink. “This in-depth, intensive experience leaves one with a broader understanding of others and personalizes struggles.” As an educator, she will share her observations with her students as well her project and “how strategy as a discipline can provide beautiful and positive change for people.”

“I have been working for decades and this is the first project that impacted me on a personal level,” added TenBrink. “Moldova is not a rich country.  The area in which I stayed is struggling in so many ways: brain drain, poverty, clean water, employment, fear of the war. I felt the hope of the people I met and their optimism for change.”

TenBrink received a Fulbright Specialist Program award through the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, marking the first time a UHD faculty member has received this honor. She is one of more than 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Specialist Program each year. Recipients of Fulbright Specialist awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

A former Fulbright U.S. Scholar, TenBrink thinks of herself as a “test case” in the Specialist role, “to see how we may best, as an institution, support these activities,” said TenBrink. “As you may imagine, these international experiences can be cumbersome and take months to come to fruition. In my case, it took nearly six months to finalize the details.” As the UHD Fulbright Liaison, she sees herself as the ideal test case as she works closely with the Provost's Office to ensure that UHD is thoughtful about how it engages in these opportunities and supports its faculty. Heraclitus said that the only constant in life is change. Thanks to TenBrink's work in strategy, such change will be positive the world over.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.