South Asia Center Strengthens Partnerships with Community Colleges and Schools of Education

Brenna Fitzgerald and Emera Bridger Wilson 

One of the Department of Education’s priorities for the National Resource Centers during this grant cycle is to strengthen partnerships with community colleges and schools of education. The South Asia Center and our consortium partner, the Cornell South Asia Program, are working with Cornell’s Southeast Asia and Latin American Studies Programs to expand and deepen collaboration with our six partner institutions: Monroe Community College (MCC), Onondaga Community College (OCC), Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3), SUNY Cortland School of Education, SUNY Buffalo State School of Education, and Syracuse University School of Education. These collaborations take a variety of forms, from working with individual faculty members to larger faculty development programs. With each, our goal is to increase and/or strengthen the inclusion of South Asia in the curriculum at community colleges and schools of education. Robert L. Muhlnickel Photo

We have launched two fellowship programs for community college and school of education faculty. In January 2019, faculty from our partner community college institutions were invited to apply for the year-long Community College Internationalization Fellows Program (CCIF). The CIFF program supports faculty in identifying ways in which they can integrate international, intercultural or global dimensions into community college curriculum to help prepare students to become globally competent citizens. One of the six fellowship recipients is Robert L. Muhlnickel, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Monroe Community College. He will be exploring South Asian philosophical traditions as part of his fellowship.

Louise WilkinsonSimilarly, faculty from our schools of education partner institutions were invited to apply for a year-long fellows program, the Global Education Faculty Fellows (GEFF) Program. The GEFF program supports faculty seeking to integrate international, intercultural, or global dimensions into their teacher training curriculum. The program helps prepare pre-service teachers to become globally competent educators. This year, we awarded the GEFF to three faculty members from two of our partner institutions with interests in developing projects focused on South and Southeast Asia. Jeremy Jiménez, Assistant Professor in the Foundations and Social Advocacy Department at SUNY Cortland will be exploring environmental justice in South and Southeast Asia. Louise Wilkinson, Distinguished Professor of Education, Psychology and Communication Sciences at Syracuse University’s School of Education will beworking with Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program to investigate math education in Karen culture and how that may help US-based teachers communicate better with their Karen students.

The South Asia Consortium also supported the CAORCAIIS Faculty Development Seminar in India, which sent 16 faculty members from community college and minority serving institutions to India in January 2019 to explore urban sustainability through India’s cities.

 In addition to these faculty development activities, we are also collaborating with our partners to bring speakers and artists to their campuses. The South Asia Center has been working with Dr. Anisha Saxena, professor of history at OCC, to support her efforts to increase the study of South Asia on OCC’s campus. She has worked with students to create a South Asia Club, which sponsored a talk by Dr. Susan Wadley, a Bollywood Dance Party, and a trip to the Liverpool Gurudwara during the Fall semester. In the spring, Professor Sangeeta Kamat (UMass Amherst) visited the SU School of Education and SUNY Cortland to speak about for-profit education in India. In April, vina maestro and Harvard University professor, Dr. Richard Wolf, gave a presentation about ritual music in South Asia and a vina demonstration at OCC.