This week, CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) are hosting 15 faculty members from minority serving institutions across the nation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic at an International Faculty Development Seminar (IFDS). Faculty members will gain expertise in facilitating faculty-led study abroad experiences for their students.
The Dominican Republic was chosen purposefully as the location for the seminar for several reasons. The history of race relations in the Dominican Republic provides an interesting backdrop to explore issues of identity. The country has a rich cultural heritage that can be seen through the Congos of Villa Mella, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which faculty members will be visiting. And finally, the Dominican Republic allows for an in-depth exploration of the African Diaspora.
Throughout the seminar, faculty members will model activities for intercultural development that can be used with their students. In addition, they will learn hands-on program planning aimed at understanding how to overcome the barriers and challenges they may face throughout the process of planning a study abroad program.
Participants were each nominated by their campus president based on their exemplary leadership, research, and teaching. They include William Arce and Jes Therkelson of California State University, Fresno; Samuel Roberson of Claflin University; Novell Tani and Evelyn Tyler of Florida A&M University; Nicole Yarling of Florida Memorial University; Melvenia Martin of Grambling State University; Bahiyyah Muhammad and GiShawn Mance of Howard University; Ervin James III and Mariola Rosario of Paul Quinn College; Erin Barnes and Joseph Rodriguez of the University of Texas, El Paso; and James Pope of Winston-Salem State University.
Facilitators for IFDS include Quinton Redcliffe, CIEE in Cape Town, South Africa; Erin Santana, CIEE in Portland, ME; Julio González-Ruiz, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA; and Marybeth Gasman and Paola ‘Lola’ Esmieu, Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, Philadelphia, PA.
According to Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, “IFDS is important to diversify study abroad opportunities for students at minority serving institutions as faculty members need the tools in order to plan successful study abroad experiences.”
James Pellow, President of CIEE, added, “IFDS complements the other components of the CIEE/CMSI partnership, which includes engaging presidential leadership in advocating for study abroad; the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program, which supports MSI students to travel to London, Cape Town, or Seoul; and our Passport Caravan, which is focused on giving free passports to students throughout the nation.”