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Goucher Today

Goucher receives grant for African studies

As part of an $88,190 grant, Goucher professors and teachers from our surrounding community will immerse themselves in two African states as students and return to their classrooms with experiential and first-hand knowledge.

This is the first time Goucher has earned the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program grant, which is issued through the U.S. Department of Education. Six Goucher professors, two Goucher staff members, and six K-12 teachers and administrators from Baltimore County and City are included in this intense, four-week immersion in Rwanda and Mauritius, a small African island in the Indian Ocean.

The grant is an offshoot of the African Leadership University (ALU) study abroad partnership with Goucher, said Eric Singer, associate provost for external programs and project director for the grant. ALU has agreed to host the grant participants on its campuses in both Rwanda and Mauritius, although learning will take place outside of the classroom, too.

Each day will be split between morning lectures from local academics and afternoons filled with experiential learning in Mauritius and Rwanda. Grant participants will talk with parliament, tour museums, explore markets, and visit local schools, which is particularly for the benefit of the K-12 school teachers, Singer said.

“Having those first-hand experiences allows faculty to craft a course or the curriculum around those topics in more than a theoretical or abstract way,” Singer said.

Although faculty participants have not yet been selected, they will come from many disciplines across campus, Singer said. The goal is to increase both faculty and student knowledge of African societies by integrating an Afro-centric curriculum in a variety of majors and minors where there might be a lack of awareness.

The educators will examine cultural differences between Mauritius, Rwanda, and the U.S., ways in which Rwanda is attempting to become the Silicon Valley of Africa, and how African societies have attempted to forge their place in the international community, Singer said.

He added, “By bringing these perspectives and then synthesizing them into the curriculum, our students will begin to see the vitality of the African continent in all of its complexity and differences so they can better understand its dynamism.”


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