Fulbright Scholar joining project team

Raechel French

                                     Raechel French


What are the characteristics of a successful transition by teachers from a traditional space to an innovative learning environment?

While a new or renovated school is being constructed, there is an opportunity to utilize change leadership and professional development to ensure teacher practices and school culture align with the intent of the new environment.

The goal of Raechel’s research is to “unpack” the process schools have taken to successfully
transition from traditional learning environments to ones more innovative.



Raechel French, a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar from the US, will be joining the team in Feb 2017. Raechel has spent the past three years as an educational planner at an architecture firm in Austin, Texas helping plan and design schools across the United States. She earned a B.E.D. in Architecture and a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a Master’s in Human-Environment Relations from Cornell University, focusing on Facility Planning and Management with a minor in Organizational Behavior.

Raechel’s  goal is to help expand the role of school architects and planners so that they have more influence on the use of the buildings they design. Raechel finds that the design process as it is, while engaging and collaborative, often only includes a small subset of the eventual users. This is especially troublesome when a school system hopes to deviate from the traditional models of teaching and learning and relies upon the building itself to create the shift. Raechel sees a new paradigm in which there is a strategic organizational alignment process integrated within design work to help school clients holistically realize their vision.

Raechel will participate in Phase one of the ILETC project in 2017, working with PhD students and the research fellows in collecting and analysing data on the design affordances of ILEs.  She will work towards a peer-reviewed paper with a member of the research team and present her findings and experiences at conferences and events throughout the United States, including her local chapter of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). An overview of Raechel’s project is here.

In addition to her participation on the ILE+TC project, Raechel will attend various Fulbright events including a Scholar Showcase and Presentation Dinner in Canberra and a State Reception. In her spare time, Raechel enjoys outdoor fitness boot camps, running/hiking, and eating good food (luckily she has chosen to come to the foodie capital of Australia!). We look forward to welcoming Raechel to the team.


About the Fulbright Programfulbright logo

The Fulbright Program is the largest and one of the most prestigious educational exchange programs in the world. Originally established in 1946 through the initiative of U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and support of the United States Government, the Fulbright Program aims to promote mutual understanding through international educational exchange. Today the Program operates between the United States and over 150 other countries. The Australian Fulbright Program is in its 68th year. Since 1949, over 2,700 Australians and 2,000 Americans have been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study, research and create ongoing partnerships and linkages in our respective countries.

A Fulbright experience provides scholars the opportunity to work with the best in their field, while building international collaborations and linkages that last a lifetime. Fulbright scholars also have the opportunity to connect with leading government, business and university representatives, and a distinguished Fulbright Alumni network.


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