We are a group of faculty from Harper College, representing a variety of departments and disciplines from Anthropology, English, Astronomy, and Humanities to Human Services, Sociology, and Geography. Through a unique professional development program, we are embarking on a two-week journey to Uganda and Rwanda. We will be meeting with faculty and administrators from Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), and the National University of Rwanda. We shall also meet industry professionals and researchers in fields that are allied to our disciplines. This Faculty International Seminar is designed to equip our faculty with the knowledge and direct experiences required to effectively contribute towards the preparation of students for careers and citizenship in an increasingly interconnected world. In order to graduate globally competent students, our faculty will increasingly need to be globally-minded themselves. Faculty participating are creating curriculum projects for infusion upon their return, will acquire new competencies in cross-cultural communication, become proficient in effective study abroad design, and gain the ability to mentor students based on their field experiences in East Africa.
And why Africa, you might ask? The African continent is widely seen as an increasingly important player in the global economy, which can be demonstrated by impressive economic growth rates attained by many countries since the turn of the century. Between 2001 and 2010 six of the world’s fastest growing economies were in Africa. According to The Economist, the continent surpassed Asia in average GDP growth between 2000 and 2005 (January 2011). This dramatic growth has been driven by a combination of free market reforms (starting in the late 1980s), increased political stability, the end of major Cold War era conflicts, and natural resource demand from China. The probability that our students will work for employers with direct or indirect business interests or connections to emerging markets (including Africa) is high. The continent is also poorly understood in the United States and is sometimes thought of as a country.
As a blanket of presumptuous snow falls on the northwest suburbs of Chicago, we depart this frigid realm. Keep track of our journey through this blog.