Ashesi’s 10th year anniversary

I visited Ashesi University in March 2012 to be sure I wanted to study with them for the coming year. As Patrick Awuah the university’s present put it, “so you’re here to do reconnaissance…”   Yep.

I was fortunate enough to be there during the University’s 10th year anniversary celebrations.  Here are some of my photos from that event.

Ashesi’s library and outdoor ampitheater

Village elders at the formal ceremony

Village elders at the formal ceremony

Asehsi’s president Patrick Awuah telling the story of 10 years in the making

The career fair

Students engaged in a Mock UN session

Student art show waiting for display

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So…what are you going to do there?

My sister emailed recently asking for clarification about what I’m actually going to DO in Africa, saying “…all I’ve focused on is that you’re going a long way a way for a long time.”

Well, here goes.

I’ll teach two classes at an undergraduate, liberal arts college in Ghana. My classes are currently scheduled to be Organizational Behavior (the structure, politics, and cultures of organizations), and Leadership. I’ve taught some version of these classes frequently in the U.S., but I have much to learn about how to apply the theory and concepts abroad.  Like at home, the university operates on a semester system (I’ll be teaching for two semesters).

The students are primarily Ghanian. They are all majoring in either Business or Computer Science. And their courses are grounded in liberal arts thinking (which is new for Africa, so it makes an interesting place for me to learn about teaching and learning).

English is an official language (left over from British colonization).  So as long as I speak slowly (difficult for me!) and listen carefully (the accent will become familiar soon), class can be a time for all of us to discover each others’ cultures through compare and contrast lessons.

I’ll live in a house, probably with another person or two, near by the campus. I’ll learn how to shop in the local market and how to prepare foods in my new setting. I  learn how to use buses (“tro-tro’s”) and taxis to get around and to reach the people I hope to interview.

I’ll do some writing while there, and more reflecting and writing when I return home. Next year, I’ll integrate lessons from Africa into my classes at Southwestern. And no doubt I’ll integrate new ways of thinking into my own learning.

That’s a lot for one year.

Journey into a different culture

My life continues to unfold as a tapestry still being woven. I’m an educator by profession, an artist by temperament and passion, and an aunt, teacher, coach, mentor and friend to many people.

I invite you to join me on a journey into a different culture – for Ghanaians perhaps you learn more about an American, for Americans perhaps you learn more about one person’s African experience. I am naming this space “Collaborative Worlds” because that characterizes what I see myself as hoping for as I prepare to teach and learn overseas for the coming academic year.

11 months ago, I submitted an application for a Fulbright Fellowship. 2 months ago, I received word that I had been selected for the program. In 5 weeks, I leave for Accra, Ghana to teach and research for the coming year. I am in search of new ways of conceptualizing business within society such that leaders and organizational designs contribute to the well being of the whole, not just maximize short term self and single-firm financial interest (see my faculty webpage for articles that explore this more deeply). But businesses are merely groups of people contracted to work towards a goal. Many people in business have formal education – either through high school or college or even perhaps a masters degree. Therefore, I see an opportunity to shift how and why business gets tomorrow by shifting how we educate people today.  To these ends, I will study two highly interrelated phenomena in Africa:

  • extraordinary leaders and businesses in Ghana listening what enhances the collective, and
  • dimensions of education and society along which educators might experiment shifting such that we serve societies of tomorrow.

Ashesi University will host me. The word Ashesi means “new beginnings.” That name is fitting for their vision, as well as for how I perceive this fellowship opportunity in my own life journey.

I should note that nothing I write on this blog should be considered authoritative about Ghana, about the United States, about the U.S. Department of State or Education through which the Council for International Exchange operates, or about the Fulbright program.  This blog is merely my reflections and my experiences. My hope though is that my experiences create a window through which readers can experience a different world – my world of teaching and learning in Africa.

I offer my experiences in hopes of fostering collaboration among many worlds, including the one within you, the reader.

Join me in creating collaborative worlds. Sign up to follow posts, then comment, pose questions, post reflections, share links. Together we can all engage in teaching and learning in Africa.