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CSU’s Wakoko and Kuforiji Selected for Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship

June 21, 2022

CSU clocktower

Dr. Florence Wakoko, an associate professor of Sociology, and Dr. Paulina Kurforiji, a professor of teacher education, leadership and counseling are among this year’s African-born scholars selected for the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Uganda to work with Lira University and Makerere University on a eLearning project. 

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, now in its fourth year, is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at African higher education institutions. Funded by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the program has awarded more than 500 African Diaspora Fellowships to scholars to travel to Africa since its inception in 2013. 

The fellowships match host universities with African-born scholars and is one of 56 projects that.

Faculty fellows come from African-based institutions or are African-born scholars. As part of their fellowship, they design and carry out projects to reverse Africa’s brain drain, strengthen capacity at the host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa, the United States and Canada.

Wakoko and Kurforiji’s project was among this year’s 56 projects that paired African Diaspora scholars with higher education institutions and collaborators in Africa to work together on curriculum co-development, collaborative research, graduate training, and mentoring activities.

“The fellowship provided me with a great opportunity to engage in activities that CSU supports such as engagement of students and faculty in research, and offering innovative curricula that fosters student success,'' said Wakoko, who was born in Uganda. “I see it as a strategy that enables us to expand the recruitment of students beyond U.S. borders, produce research that informs the scholarship of teaching and learning, and establish inter-university partnerships that develop student cross-cultural skills.”

As Wakoko noted, hers and Kuforiji’s project is a tangible example of Columbus State’s reimagining education, which strives to develop, experiment with and share effective academic learning methods. Through their project, they collaborated with deans, staff and students at African universities to assess the current institutional infrastructure to inform curriculum redesign across disciplines. The project also included workshops focused on gender mainstreaming in the curriculum, curriculum content-mapping to align learning outcomes to student success, and drafting a cross-disciplinary curriculum for women, gender and global leadership.

“This fellowship afforded me the opportunity to give back to these communities,” added Kuforifi, who hails originally from Nigeria. “In addition to standard student-faculty exchange opportunities that are bound to emerge from this project, there are countless opportunities for collaborative student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and faculty-to-faculty exchanges.”

Along with exploring new educational approaches, Kuforiji sees the pair’s participation in the fellowship program as one building better international and cultural partnerships for Columbus State.

“I hope that the partnership that we have established will be built upon in various ways as we continue with our intellectual exchanges to benefit CSU and the world,” Kuforiji noted.

For more information on the program, visit https://www.iie.org/en/Programs/Carnegie-African-Diaspora-Fellowship-Program.