Spokane Community College English and Foreign Languages Instructor Diamond Wilson will be one of 15 faculty members from U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions participating in an Overseas Faculty Development Seminar in Senegal.
The seminar, West Africa and the Diaspora — Continuities and Transformation, will be administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Center in collaboration with the West African Research Association.
Faculty will leave on January 2 and spend two weeks in a workshop in Dakar with trips to Gorée Island, Toubacouta, Saint-Louis and other locations where they will attend lectures, panel discussions and film screenings delving into the history, culture, arts, economy and political life of Senegal while drawing connections between West Africa and the diaspora.
“Going on this trip to Senegal can bring additional content richness to foreign language classes,” Wilson said. “I’m hoping to expand my knowledge and connect with people doing this work every day to extend the plurality of voices and provide a means for these voices to have an impact.”
Wilson is passionate about bringing a new set of ideas and perspectives into her classes at SCC where students closely analyze literature crafted by Senegalese poets and writers. Beyond learning the French language, Wilson wants her curriculum to encompass the historical impacts of certain regions discussed in the classroom.
“There are many challenging historical truths we need to face," Wilson said. “I hope this will allow students to gain a 3D perspective when they say they’re studying the French language and cultural components of the course.”
To round out the program, Wilson will fully develop and implement a program that demonstrates an effort to increase internationalization on SCC’s campus within one year of returning from the overseas seminar.
“This is a new experience for me and if I ask my students to grow, then I need to be willing to do the same and make sure my curriculum does too."
CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College, and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.