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Graduate students participate in collaborative course in Peru

WKU faculty members Dr. Jane Olmsted and Dr. S. Kay Gandy directed a collaborative study abroad project in Peru titled “Community, Place, and Leadership on the Amazon Frontier.”

Participants in a WKU study abroad course in Peru pose with children in Comandancia.

Participants in a WKU study abroad course in Peru with children in Comandancia.

The collaborative course, held Dec. 28-Jan. 11, was designed for doctoral students in the Educational Leadership program and master’s students in the Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities program.

The SRSC is the first interdisciplinary master’s program devoted to sustainability and community leadership. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership is the first stand-alone doctoral program at WKU.

Participants in the course were Danny Guy of Minneapolis; Brittany Sowacke of Chicago; Chad Green of Louisville; Christian Ryan-Downing of Franklin; and Nathan Phelps of Bowling Green.

Dr. Jane Olmsted and student Chad Green in front of a mural in the Plaza de Armas in Iquitos, Peru.

Dr. Jane Olmsted and student Chad Green in front of a mural in the Plaza de Armas in Iquitos, Peru.

Dr. Olmsted, professor and head of the Department of Diversity & Community Studies, and Dr. Gandy, associate professor in the School of Teacher Education, received the Collaborative International Activities (CIA) Fund, which supports interdisciplinary, innovative projects that involve collaboration between/among two or more WKU departments, offices, colleges or other units. Grants awarded from this fund provide start-up money to initiate creative approaches to internationalization that hold reasonable promise of success and sustainability. These funds were used to offset the cost of the study abroad for participants.

Dr. S. Kay Gandy at the Belen Market in Iquitos, Peru.

Dr. S. Kay Gandy at the Belen Market in Iquitos, Peru.

Dr. Gandy and Dr. Olmsted collaborated with Dr. Devon Graham, president of Project Amazonas, to provide participants with opportunities to include an international aspect in their program of study and to meet with international leaders and work in international communities. Dr. Graham is an instructor in The Honors College at Florida International University (FIU) where he co-directs the FIU Amazon Study-Abroad Program and also teaches an interdisciplinary course on the Florida Everglades.

Objectives of the study abroad in Peru included providing students with an opportunity to examine human-environment interactions in urban and rural settings, employing experiential learning (City as Text) as a means to understand the dynamics of place and community, and developing students’ field research skills through individually designed projects.

Contact: S. Kay Gandy, (270) 745-2991.

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