Home » Faculty from Coe, Cornell, Knox, Macalester, and St. Olaf Set to Participate in SAIL Seminar in Jordan

Faculty from Coe, Cornell, Knox, Macalester, and St. Olaf Set to Participate in SAIL Seminar in Jordan

Faculty from Coe, Cornell, Knox, Macalester, and St. Olaf Set to Participate in SAIL Seminar in Jordan March 30, 2015
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Twelve faculty from Coe, Cornell, Macalester, and St. Olaf Colleges will join three faculty from Knox College for an interdisciplinary seminar this summer on the topic of Sustainability on the Margins: Investigating Adaptation and Change in Jordan, with an on-site portion based in Amman, Jordan on July 20-30.

The seminar, designed to support faculty as they create innovative course materials and further their research interests, will address the broad theme of sustainability from diverse perspectives and examine how the challenges confronting Jordanian society transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.

View of AmmanView of Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Photo courtesy of Emily Gaul

The leaders of the seminar, who proposed the topic and site, are Knox professors Katherine Adelsberger (Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and the Douglas and Maria Bayer Endowed Chair of Earth Sciences), Danielle Fatkin (Assistant Professor of History), and Daniel Beers (Assistant Professor of Political Science).

The on-site portion will focus on several case studies in sustainability and include frequent site visits and opportunities to engage with local experts and government officials in Jordan, according to the seminar leaders.

Field trips will highlight sustainability issues through time and in both urban and remote rural areas — from the ancient city of Petra to bustling neighborhoods in Amman to a village that hosts refugees from Syria. Most of the field trips will address several types of sustainability at the same time, so participants can examine the interconnected nature of social, historical, and environmental concerns in the region.

PetraThe ancient city of Petra, one of the field visit sites for the SAIL seminar in Jordan.

Photo courtesy of Kailey Colestock

Sustainability on the Margins is the fourth faculty seminar sponsored by the ACM Seminars in Advanced Interdisciplinary Learning (SAIL) program. Topics and sites, leadership teams, and participants for the SAIL seminars are selected by the SAIL Steering Committee through a competitive process.

During the academic year following the on-site seminar, SAIL participants draw on the materials, shared expertise, and learning from the on-site seminar to develop upper-level, interdisciplinary curricula, such as case studies, modules and other course elements, and new courses. Faculty have also incorporated their seminar experience in their individual research agendas.

Faculty participants selected for the Jordan seminar include:

  • Coe College — Julie Fairbanks (Assistant Professor of Anthropology), Martin St. Clair (Professor of Chemistry), and Susan Wolverton (Professor of Theatre Arts)
  • Cornell College — Devan Baty (Associate Professor of French), Ellen Hoobler (Assistant Professor of Art History), and Marcela Ochoa-Shivapour, (Professor of Ethnic Studies, Latin American Studies, & Spanish)
  • Macalester College — Louisa Bradtmiller (Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies), Roopali Phadke (Associate Professor of Environmental Studies), and Daniel Trudeau, (Associate Professor of Geography)
  • St. Olaf College — Susan Smalling, (Assistant Professor of Social Work), Kristina Thalhammer (Professor of Political Science), and Anne Walter (Professor of Biology)

View of AmmanView of Amman.

Photo courtesy of Emily Gaul

The leadership team from Knox noted that they are in the process of finalizing the syllabus for the seminar and itinerary for the time in Jordan, and are tapping the expertise of the participating faculty to give short lectures or lead discussions while on site, as well as to shape the content of the seminar readings, topics, and locations to be visited.

Funded by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SAIL seminars have taken groups of faculty from ACM colleges to Colorado, Italy, and Washington, DC in the past three years for intensive, ten-day explorations of challenging topics.

ACM has issued a Call for Pre-Proposals from faculty at ACM colleges seeking compelling ideas for a topic, three-person leadership team, and site in the U.S. for the fifth SAIL seminar, which will have its on-site seminar in summer 2016. The deadline for pre-proposals is April 15.


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