A Lawrence Technological University associate professor of architecture has been named a Fulbright Scholar, one of the nation’s highest academic honors.
James C. Stevens, AIA, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Architecture in LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, has been named the Fulbright Scholar in Albania.
Under the program, Stevens will spend two months this summer, followed by seven months in 2017, teaching and conducting research at Polis University, in Albania’s capital city of Tirana.
The Fulbright grant is the culmination of five years of collaboration between LTU’s makeLab, a digital design and fabrication studio that Stevens founded in 2010, and Polis University, which produced the first digital fabrication lab for architects in Albania.
Stevens said he applied for the Fulbright in Albania after learning about the country, beginning five years ago, from a then-LTU student from Albania, Pandush Gaqi. (Gaqi is now an adjunct LTU faculty member after earning a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan.) Stevens said he was interested in learning how digital fabrication could help a developing economy, and Gaqi suggested Albania. Over the years, the relationship has grown, and there has been a steady flow of students back and forth between LTU and Polis for study and visits.
Stevens has been on the Lawrence Tech faculty since 2008. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1994, and a Master of Architecture from North Carolina State University in 2007.
In 2013, Stevens won the LTU Faculty Member of the Year award, presented annually by the Mary E. and Richard E. Marburger Fund for Excellence. The fund, established by LTU President Emeritus Richard E. Marburger and his wife, recognizes exceptional competence, conscientious effort, positive attitude, and innovative ideas in education. He has also won the American Institute of Architects’ Henry Adams Medal for Excellence in the Study of Architecture, and is a Fellow of the Coleman Foundation, a Chicago-based charity that among other efforts funds entrepreneurship education.
Prior to his appointment at Lawrence Tech, Stevens was principal and president of Coastal Design Center, a residential design firm, in New Bern, N.C. from 1995 to 2001, and principal and vice president of Peterson, Bure and Associates, a full service architecture firm, also in New Bern, from 2001 to 2007.
Stevens is co-author with Lawrence Tech professor Ralph Nelson of a book on digital design, “Digital Vernacular, Architectural Principles, Tools and Process,” published by Routlage Architectural Press in 2014, as well as several peer-reviewed architectural articles on the subject. He has been a professional lecturer, presenter and exhibitor at architecture events around the globe, including Albania, Canada, China, France, Kosovo, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
At Lawrence Tech, Stevens established the makeLab in 2010 – a space where students use computer-controlled machinery to make precise copies of computer-designed components in a variety of materials, including wood, cork, concrete, plastic and more. The purpose of the lab is to use digital fabrication as an entrepreneurial opportunity as well as to improve design. It has been involved in several architecture and design projects worldwide.
“Jim Stevens’ Fulbright honor is yet another addition to the long list of awards earned by Lawrence Tech faculty, and a fine example of the high quality of instruction offered at LTU,” said Lawrence Tech President Virinder Moudgil.
The Fulbright Scholar Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists, was founded by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946.
Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet members, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. Their ranks include 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Since 1946, more than 360,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.
Sen. Fulbright’s goal of developing international understanding depends on a commitment from Fulbright grantees to establish open communication and long-term cooperative relationships. As a Fulbright recipient, Stevens is a representative of the United States, and will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic, and scientific fields.
The Fulbright Fellowship Selection Board is the presidentially appointed 12-member body that supervises the Fulbright Program worldwide and approves selection of all Fulbright recipients. More about the Fulbright program at www.cies.org.