SENCER E-Newsletter, August 2003, Volume 2, Issue 2
Linking SENCER Courses in Kenya - By: Sherryl Broverman
During the 2002 SENCER Summer Institute, I developed a collaboration with Rose Odhiambo and colleagues at Egerton University in Kenya to link our courses on HIV/AIDS so that our students could participate in international collaborative learning and research. After receiving funding from the Women's International Science Collaboration program at AAAS, I traveled to Kenya during May and June of 2003 to visit Egerton, as well as Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University. While at Egerton, Rose and I hosted a half-day workshop on SENCER for about 20 faculty and administrators. Everyone was very interested and engaged, and the workshop culminated with the formation of working groups to develop critical thinking and ethics questions to be used in the student discussion groups.
The highlight of the trip for me was teaching several classes at Egerton to model SENCER approaches. Besides the 300 students in the room, there was the same crowd of 20 from the workshop, making for a tight but friendly group. The students just loved having the chance to talk and share their knowledge during class, and the observers were amazed at how much sophisticated knowledge the students already had about HIV/AIDS. Everyone walked out of these classes excited about learning new materials in new ways, including the faculty.
I was fortunate to have two students, Michelle Lanham and Courtney Crosson, accompany me on my trip to Kenya. They are part of an undergraduate research project at Duke to develop appropriate teaching tools on HIV/AIDS to be used at Egerton and other Kenyan institutions. This fall they will work with me and ten other Duke students to write teaching and student manuals to be used in HIV/AIDS courses in Kenya. Courtney and Michelle created a network of students at Egerton who will serve as consultants and advisors on everything from content to style to price. We also laid the groundwork for a more ambitious project of developing parallel curricula at Duke and Egerton. We envision students working collaboratively on assignments and sharing their sometimes similar, sometimes very different, perspectives on science, education, and global citizenship.
Sherryl Broverman is Assistant Professor of the Practice in the biology department at Duke University.