In May, Ashley Clayton, a current doctoral candidate at CIE carried out a participatory evaluation of a program working with children in Sierra Leone. She describes part of her experience in her own words.
CIE was well represented at the 2009 Annual Conference of CIES. More than 20 CIE members were on the program, with 14 of those coming from the on-campus group. Unfortunately, not all those from off campus were able to attend, but those who did were able to meet and interact with the on-campus group at an informal gathering on Sunday evening.
A sampling of offerings from CIE at the conference included several panels organized by Center for International Education Members
In addition there were a number of individual papers on topics like:
CIE graduates were represented by
At a recent Friday brown bag meeting and informal lunch, Dr. Judi Aubel of the Grandmother Project shared the purposes and activities of this new NGO currently operates in Senegal, West Africa, Mauritania and Nicaragua. The overall purpose of the organization is to develop activities that infuse the wisdom and cultural knowledge of ‘elders’, especially grandmothers, into development projects. Her presentation included a critique of major INGO rhetoric which calls for development projects to be culturally sensitive but then gives no credence to the inclusion of elders. Given that many cultures around the world hold elders in high regard; their exclusion from development projects is a serious gap. The Grandmother Project seeks to fill this gap.
Olivia Stokes Dreier, Associate Director of the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding made a presentation on Reweaving the Social Fabric: Working with Educators in the Aftermath of Mass Violence at the CIE Tuesday meeting on March 3, 2009. The Karuna Center for Peacebuilding is a small nonprofit organization in Amherst that works with communities in war-torn regions around the world to rebuild trust and prevent future cycles of violence.
Curriculum Development for Boston Inner-city Youth
Mishy Lesser (Ed.D. 1996) spoke to CIE members at a Tuesday meeting on November 18, 2008. Her presentation was entitled NFE and Transformational Leadership: Working with Youth in Urban Setting. Working as an independent consultant (See her website), Ms. Lesser described her experiences working for a coalition of faith-based organizations in inner-city Boston. Specifically focusing on high-risk minority urban youth, Ms. Lesser was asked to design a curriculum for a so-called after after-school program. In discussion with the sponsors she has since broadened the scope of activities to create a larger youth development strategy which includes youth empowerment, leadership, and employability. Through this curriculum, the project aims to support youth to: develop mastery of their environment; cultivate self-awareness; acquire social and relationship skills; get involved in making decisions about the program; build local capacity, especially among older youth; restore relationships with the natural world; develop better understanding of their past; and take responsibility for their futures. The curriculum will be divided into two years, one for 14-15 year olds and one for 16-18 year olds, with each curriculum highlighting specific themes.
In the future, Mishy would like to examine the impact of this 40-week curriculum in a longer-term research project. After the presentation, Ms. Lesser had an open discussion with faculty and students about the program including comparisons to other contexts in cities in the developing world. We thank Ms. Lesser for sharing her work and have invited her to return next year to report on the progress of the program!
Gretchen B. Rossman was honored at a luncheon in Septebmer 2008 as a recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member Centennial Award from the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In celebration of a century of scholarship, the Graduate School selected one outstanding faculty member from each school and college in the University to receive the award. According to the Graduate School, Dr. Rossman was selected as an “exemplar of the faculty who provide guidance and mentorship to graduate students through chairing and membership on student thesis and dissertation committees.” The Graduate School noted that Dr. Rossman’s service “provides the backbone of the excellence that is the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.” [9/08]
In May 2008, Cris spent two weeks in Bangladesh as a DfID consultant to Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB). FIVDB is a local NGO that works with rural educational development in Bangladesh. For the past ten years FIVDB has utilized DfID funding to work with communities to set up community managed schools. Cris had a tri-fold mandate that was aimed at assisting FIVDB to redefine its direction as it sought to acquire substantially larger funding from the Dutch government for a five year period.
During her presentation, Cris engaged the CIE audience in a brainstorming process that challenged everyone to think about what they each would have done had they been posed with the FIVDB’s mammoth task: “to empower communities and reduce poverty by enhancing access to and completion of education in disadvantaged communities.”
As part of this group process, the audience was presented with some general background information about Bangladesh and Cris facilitated a lively interchange of ideas as she mapped the ideas that were shared. The session was especially meaningful since Cris was able to use the map of ideas to the current work of FIVDB, and also to the new direction that FIVDB hoped to pursue should they receive funding from the Dutch. Cris is also working to involve CIE in a variety of research and evaluation efforts with FIVDB should the new funding be awarded. [9/08]
Be able to engage in the discourse of their culture, was one piece of advice Ash Hartwell passed on to CIE members during a presentation at a recent Tuesday meeting. Before Ash travelled to Kosovo this past summer – at the invitation of Rob Fuderich - this is exactly what he made sure he could do. He read up on the history, culture, and even the literature of the area in part of his preparation of working with UNICEF to create a coherent education sector in Kosovo.
Ash was part of a team that travelled all across Kosovo; visiting formal and non-formal education programs from the primary school-age to the university level. The team was responsible for providing an overview of the education sector and making recommendations to guide strategic planning. What Ash and the team discovered was a lot of great education programs that shared a strong vision. They recommended strategies—that created teacher training programs, accountability, curriculum development, and financial management—that would help move the country towards the fruition of their vision. The result was two reports: one that set out priorities in the education reform and a second that recommended stratetgy for UNICEF support of the reform.
His presentation provided a current example of national-level policy consulting and highlighted many of the skills needed to be effective at such work.