Faculty members from Colorado, Grinnell, Knox, Lake Forest, and Macalester Colleges will spend March 23-28 in Botswana on an ACM-sponsored site visit to the Botswana: Development in Southern Africa program.
The visit is part of ACM’s Faculty Site Visits program, which takes a group of professors to one of the consortial off-campus program sites each semester.
“We are pleased that so many faculty were interested in this site visit to Botswana, although that certainly made it difficult to select the participants with only five spaces available,” said Joan Gillespie, ACM Vice President and Director of Off-Campus Study Programs. “I think the high level of interest indicates the opportunities the program and the location in Botswana offer to students.”
Spring 2014 Botswana Program participants and faculty in front of a statue on the University of Botswana campus commemorating the establishment of the university.
Photo courtesy of Elena Lahti.
The group’s itinerary during the five days in Botswana will include:
- Tours of the University of Botswana (UB), which hosts the ACM program, and the surrounding city of Gaborone, the country’s capital;
- A guided excursion to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve;
- A trip to Mochudi, a village where students spend several days on a home stay;
- Visits to classes the students take; and
- Meetings with students currently on the program, program staff, and UB faculty and administrators.
“There is a strong faculty development component for the professors on the visit, since they will have opportunities to make contacts with colleagues at the University of Botswana and learn about resources they may be able use in their courses or tap for their own scholarly research,” Gillespie noted.
In keeping with the interdisciplinary breadth of the Botswana Program, the faculty on the trip represent a variety of disciplines, including biology, anthropology, business, environmental studies, psychology, and political science.
A key part of the visit will be a series of presentations, given by the visiting faculty, in which they will share their expertise with students currently on the program, as well as UB faculty and students. Their talks will cover topics such as economic development and environmental protection, global trends toward sexualizing girls and girlhood, forced migration in developing countries, ethnographic fieldwork, and the impact of genetic technology in agriculture.
The site visit is designed to give faculty firsthand knowledge about the ACM program that they can use when talking with students interested in off-campus study in Africa. Since the Botswana Program includes an independent study project, familiarity with the program’s resources will help faculty advise students on possible research topics before they participate in the program.
Each semester, ACM offers a Faculty Site Visit to one of its programs. The fall 2014 visit will be to the site of the Tanzania: Ecology & Human Origins program. A call for applications will be posted on the Faculty Site Visits webpage this spring.
Botswana Faculty Site Visit participants and presentation topics
Daniel Beers, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Knox College
Daniel Beers’ research and teaching focus on understanding the processes of democratization and development in politically transitioning states and how international actors and non-governmental organizations may influence them. While most of his research has been centered on the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, he has developed and taught new courses on emerging democracies and the politics of international development, which incorporate case studies from Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Beers’ presentation during the site visit, titled “Forced Migration and Development,” will explore the causes of forced migration in developing countries, as well as the consequences for displaced populations and host countries.
Leslie Gregg-Jolly, Professor of Biology, Grinnell College
The primary research interests for Leslie Gregg-Jolly are DNA repair mechanisms and recombination, processes that are essential for protecting organisms from DNA-damaging agents such as ultraviolet light and chemical mutagens. These mechanisms also contribute to the evolution of new traits. She serves as the program director for Grinnell’s four-year, $1 million science education “capstone award” from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and teaches courses ranging from Molecular Biology to Social and Ethical Implications of Contemporary Human Genetics.
Her presentation on “GMOs: Field of Dreams?” will introduce a few basic genetic technologies that are being used world-wide and the relationship between their application and society. One such application, the development of genetically modified maize or rice, is being undertaken by Botswana’s Ministry of Agriculture to address the poor performance of the agricultural sector due to low rainfalls.
Tomi-Ann Roberts, Winkler Herman Professor of Psychology, Core Faculty in Feminist and Gender Studies, Colorado College
Tomi-Ann Roberts’ research has been focused on widespread standards of sexualized beauty, and how these impact the treatment of girls and women as well as their own self-perceptions, as well as the impact of sexualized messaging on girls’ and women’s reproductive health. She is co-author of a forthcoming book titled The Sexualization of Girls and Girlhood: Causes, Consequences and Resistance. The courses she regularly teaches include Introduction to Psychology, Mind and Body, Personality, Emotion, and Psychology of Morality and Conflict.
In her presentation on “The Sexualization of Girls and Girlhood: From the US to the World?,” Roberts will discuss the role of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls in documenting the causes and consequences of this cultural trend. She will also explore the increasing globalization of Western standards of sexualized beauty, and the particular consequences this may carry for girls’ and women’s mental and physical (particularly reproductive) health in non-Western countries like Botswana.
Dianna Shandy, Professor of Anthropology, Macalester College
A socio-cultural anthropologist, Dianna Shandy’s work spans U.S. and international settings, with broad research and teaching interests in gender, migration, political conflict and violence, and research methods. She has a longstanding interest in Africa, with previous experience at the University of Namibia and teaching Setswana in South Africa. Her master’s degree research in Namibia focused on gender, race, and education in post-apartheid schools, and her doctoral dissertation focused on conflict, forced migration, and globalization in South Sudan. Currently she is writing about Darfur, the International Criminal Court, and the representation of violence in Africa.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Africa, Europe and North America, Shandy’s presentation on “African Migration on Three Continents: Lessons from Fieldwork” will highlight key techniques and lessons learned from studying African migration in diverse settings.
Lake Forest College
Jeffrey Sundberg, James S. Kemper Foundation Professor of Liberal Arts and Business, Faculty in the Environmental Studies Program, Lake Forest College
Jeffrey Sundberg teaches courses ranging widely across economics, finance, and environmental studies. His primary area of research interest is the economics and public policy of land conservation, and last year he expanded that interest to include Africa. During a two-week trip to South Africa to learn about that country’s Protected Areas Act, he interviewed government officials as well as farmers who were considering whether to participate in the program. Sundberg recently developed a new class in the economics of land, emphasizing the differences in various property rights regimes, including course readings on property rights systems in Africa.
In his talk on “Economics of the Environment: Paths to Development,” Sundberg will discuss the tensions and the complementarities between economic growth and environmental protection and how countries can make choices about ways to develop, using economic incentives and analysis to achieve goals for improved standards of living that go beyond simple measures of GDP.