PJHR Faculty Affiliate Wins Fulbright Global Scholar Award

Thursday, Apr 27, 2023
Mara Schiff, Ph.D., an associate professor at FAU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within the College of Social Work and Criminal Justice.

PJHR congratulates Professor Mara Schiff on receiving a prestigious Fulbright Global Scholar Award for 2023-2024! Dr. Schiff is Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at FAU, as well as a PJHR Faculty Affiliate and member of PJHR 's Advisory Committee. Her Fulbright award will focus on her research on restorative justice, which she will conduct in Belgium during the award period. Full article below:


The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has selected  Mara Schiff, Ph.D., an associate professor at  Florida Atlantic University’s  School of Criminology and Criminal Justice  within the  College of Social Work and Criminal Justice, to receive the prestigious Fulbright Global Scholar Award (academic year 2023-24).

The Fulbright program is devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers.

Fulbright alumni include Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, McArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 Fulbrighters have participated in the program.

“Dr. Schiff was selected to receive this international award because of her great leadership skills, vast expertise in restorative justice as well as her numerous contributions to society,” said  Naelys Luna, Ph.D., dean of the FAU College of Social Work and Criminal Justice. “As a Fulbright scholar, she will proudly represent the United States, Florida, and our university during this educational exchange program in Belgium. Her project will help to build mutual understanding between our nations, advance knowledge across communities, and improve lives around the world.”    

In addition to her academic role, Schiff served as the vice president of the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) from 2017 to 2022 and served a publicly elected four-year term on the School Board of the School District of Indian River County (2018-2022). She is the recipient of the FAU President’s Leadership Award (2010-2011), the President’s Community Engaged Teaching Award (2019), and the FAU Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching Award (2023). She also has been invited to serve as a Global Criminology Professor at her host university, the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven (KU Leuven) this year.

The focus of Schiff’s Fulbright award, restorative justice, has successfully addressed conflict in interpersonal, tribal, community, and international settings. Restorative practices in education and government have been shown to decrease discord and violence, support victims, build relationships and help establish community normative standards.

“I am honored and excited to be selected as a Fulbright scholar,” said Schiff. “In this capacity, I will have the opportunity to combine teaching and research on advanced topics in restorative justice, and to conduct qualitative research that explores how integrated justice and education systems might collaboratively produce more stable, less violent, and more inclusive communities.” 

Schiff’s research methods will employ observation, interviews, focus groups and document review to examine how European, and specifically Belgian, strategies that embrace peaceable and restorative educational strategies might offer a sustainable blueprint for building more restorative, collaborative and ultimately less violent communities in the U.S. and around the world. 

The teaching and research components of Schiff’s award will enhance relationships between U.S. and Belgian scholars by expanding the relationship between FAU and KU Leuven’s criminology/criminal justice faculty through collaborative academic journal articles, national and international conference presentations at American, Belgian, and other European universities, and exploring potential faculty and student exchanges.

As a restorative justice scholar, practitioner, speaker and advocate for nearly 30 years, Schiff publishes and teaches on restorative theory and practice in criminal-legal, juvenile and educational arenas, and has written about the limitations of restorative language and narrative and interdisciplinary approaches to address systemic structural violence. She has authored multiple books, book chapters and articles in academic journals such as  Contemporary Justice Review;  Criminal Justice and Behavior;  Washington University Journal of Law and Policy; and  Criminal Justice Review. She is co-editor of the North American volume of the  International Encyclopaedia of Restorative Justice  to be published in 2024.  

Schiff has served as a consultant for the National Center of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ “School-Justice Partnership Project” and the Federal Department of Education’s “Rethinking Discipline.   She was an invited speaker at the “Closing the School Discipline Gap”   in Washington D.C.; the New York State Permanent Commission on Justice for Children’s “School-Justice Partnership Summit” in New York City;   the National Leadership’s “Summit on School Justice Partnership” in Washington, D.C.; the first and second International Symposiums on Restorative Justice in Skopelos, Greece; the first International Conference on Child Justice and Children’s Rights, Pretoria, South Africa; and the European Forum for Restorative Justice. She was recently an invited faculty fellow to the Jewish National Foundation Faculty Fellowship in Israel (2022-23), and the Maynooth University Summer Institute in Restorative Justice and Design Innovation (2022).