Faculty Global Initiatives
BCC faculty and staff bring their international experiences and backgrounds to their teaching and interaction with our students. They engage in a broad range of international research projects, activities and educational programs that strengthen their understanding of global issues and perspectives.
Eugene Adams (back row in the gray shirt) engages Senegalese youth in the Color of Comics exhibit
In collaboration with the Senegalese American Bilingual School and the American Cultural Center
(U.S. Embassy), staff member Eugene Adams (Collaborative Programs) brought the Color of Comics exhibit
to the American Cultural Center in Dakar, Senegal, as a contribution to the 2010 Festival of Black
Arts and Cultures. In addition, the Center provided art and literacy workshops for children
and hosted a professional panel of American and African comic book artists and writers. The 2010
festival is a major arts celebration that was attended by over 80 nations. The American Embassy
in Dakar also provided funds for arts materials, interpreters, and travel to various cities in Senegal.
The Color of Comics was first conceived and curated at BCC, and its works represent images
and perspectives of people of color in the global comic book industry and creative genre. The exhibit
is part of a larger arts and education initiative that includes producing an annual comic book convention,
conducting career workshops, providing professional development for educators, and engaging
over 5,000 Bronx children and parents. “BCC has hosted Senegalese university and secondary
school educators and provided technical support for quite some time,” said Adams, who has engaged
educational partnership initiatives in Senegal and other African countries for more than 15 years. “The
invitation of the U.S. Embassy Dakar is a result of these relationships.”
Dr. Simon Davis
Dr. Simon Davis Explores the British Role in Palestine from 1929-1939
Dr. Simon Davis’s research 'From Development and Welfare to Armed Repression: Britain and Arab Palestine, 1929-1939' examines the British role in Palestine during this period. He visited the Palestinian territories, Israel, Great Britain and Ireland to examine primary sources and how they shaped history.
He begins with British responses to the 1929 Jerusalem, Hebron and Safad riots, and investigations into why Jewish communities were violently set upon, needing troops, aircraft and armed police to restore order. His work focuses on Britain’s evolving efforts to reconcile the Arab population of Palestine to a country changed by Jewish immigration, but in which Palestinian Arab rights and interests were also preserved. However, this merely precipitated further resistance, whose course and implications will form much of the study.
Dr. David Gordon
Dr. David Gordon Leads CUNY Faculty on Visits to China
Professor David Gordon has been deeply involved in East Asian projects for a number of years. He has led faculty trips to China, most recently in July 2009, for five consecutive summers. Faculty from various CUNY campuses, as well as colleges and universities from across the nation, went to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and Beijing. These trips had three aims. The first was to introduce faculty to the City University’s study abroad programs in Shanghai and Nanjing. The Shanghai program, run every summer, introduces students to beginning Chinese and international business in East Asia. The Nanjing program offers courses in Chinese history, culture and language over a semester or a year.
The second aim was to introduce CUNY faculty to Chinese colleagues with whom they could develop joint research projects and programs. The third was to introduce American educators to the most dynamic and forward looking of the world’s major economies. There can be no doubt that China will be of paramount economic and political importance in our new century. It is Professor Gordon’s opinion that one will soon be unable to fully understand our rapidly globalizing economy without some first hand knowledge of China.
Professor Gordon has in recent years focused his own research on Chinese economic development. A specialist in French history, with two books on the evolution of nineteenth century industry, he is now interested in French industrial investment in both Indochina and China. David Gordon is most especially interested in the development of infrastructure, in particular railroads, a concern that also remains of major importance today for both the government and private investors in the People’s Republic of China. Having already worked in archives in France, he will soon be turning his attention to those in Hanoi and Saigon.
Dr. Marcia Jones
Dr. Marcia Jones Serves on Medical Missions in Jamaica, Ghana & Other Countries
Dr. Jones first introduction to the Organization for International Development was through her mom. She requested that her daughter attend an OID function with her. This was 1990; the function was being hosted for the benefit of raising funds for an OID mission trip to Jamaica. She attended and was intrigued by the scope and extent of the work of this little known organization.
The next year Dr. Jones volunteered to go on a mission to Jamaica with her mother and sister. Her primary job at the work site was to see all the females with gynecological and obstetrical concerns. The crowds were overwhelming; the makeshift clinic was hot and very basic. She had to prop women on benches and place bedpans under their buttocks to do pelvic exams using plastic bags and sheets to create privacy. I never worked harder in my life. These were the longest 12-14 hour days I had ever worked for free, but what a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that I could give back to those in need of care. I was hooked. As a family we continued to volunteer every year, going to many different rural communities throughout the island. Sometimes she was in charge of setting up the pharmacy, dispensing medication and providing patient teaching. Other times she was responsible for scheduling and delegation of volunteers and patients, so that the mission would run smoothly. At times she had to collect and complete the statistical reports. Public relation activities included meeting the press and liaison with government officials.
In 2002, she was the mission coordinator for the healthcare mission trip to Ethiopia. This was a challenging experience; international collaborations were fraught with many communication and logistic problems. However, with much perseverance and patience her skill set grew and she became the mission co-coordinator for the annual Ghana mission (August 2003-2007).
Apart from her mission work, she is the treasurer for the organization. Her accomplishments as the treasurer for OID include registering the organization with the New York Charities Bureau and the CUNY Charitable Giving Campaign. She recently wrote a grant to the Pan American Foundation seeking funding to provide diabetic services to elderly persons in rural Jamaica.
Her enthusiasm for mission work could not be contained, while sharing her stories about healthcare work at Bronx Community College; several students approached her, wanting to share such an experience. In 2007, two students participated in the Ghana mission and had an unforgettable global adventure and learning experience. They came back and motivated others to volunteer. Several funding opportunities opened up and with Dr. Jones’ assistance, two students were able to have a life changing experience as they provided humanitarian and health related services to indigent populations in the Caribbean and Africa.
“My participation with OID has taught me many things,” said Dr. Jones. “I have learned to be a leader and educator who is flexible, diplomatic, organized, caring, giving and open-minded.”
Dr. Roman Kossak
Dr. Roman Kossak Teaches and Collaborates with International Colleagues
Roman Kossak does research in model theory, which is a branch of mathematical logic. He collaborates with several colleagues in the US and abroad. He has published jointly with co-authors in Poland and in Great Britain. Recently he gave invited talks on his work at the University of Pisa, Italy, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Institute of Mathematics of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Cuernavaca. In 2008 he was an invited panel lecturer at Logic Colloquium 2008, international conference of the Association for Symbolic Logic at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
He was a referee and the official opponent in Ph.D. defenses at the University of Helsinki, Finland, the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the University of Birmingham, England.
He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Symbolic Logic—an international organization of specialists in mathematical logic and philosophical logic—the largest such organization in the world.
Dr. Suzan Moss
Dr. Suzan Moss brings her International Dance Experiences Back to BCC
With funding help from the College, Dr. Moss had the opportunity to study dance abroad, and bring back new materials and new perspectives to her students at BCC. She has visited Senegal, Cuba and South Korea. In 2001, she visited Senegal to study African dance and drumming. There, she lived in a community of dancers and drummers, outside of the village of Malika, about 45 minutes north of Dakar. She studied for several hours each day. When she returned to BCC she was able to teach new dances, songs, and rhythms, and also write about her experience. (Materials are available in the Learning Center.) She shows her students slides, costumes, artwork, and music that she brought back from Africa. I have the beginnings of a deeper understanding of both the strengths and challenges of African culture, so I can connect my lectures more meaningfully to current realities. This is especially helpful in encouraging African students to share their experiences in my classes.
In 2003, Dr. Moss traveled to Cuba with Global Exchange, and studied Afro-Cuban folkloric dance and Salsa for two weeks at the Teatro América in Havana. The course culminated with a performance where she received a certificate from the theater. Global Exchange also arranged visits to several political organizations and government ministries. The Cubans that she met and studied with were extraordinarily open about their culture, religion, and political system. Upon returning to BCC, she has taught folkloric dance material and some Casino Rueda (Cuban Salsa danced in a circle). She explains the cultural roots of these dance forms, and discusses some of the paradoxes of Cuban society. She has also placed written material and pictures in the Learning Center that allows students a small glimpse behind the embargo.
In 2009 she was invited to teach at the 20th Symposium of the Korean Dance Education Society. This was her first trip to Asia, and on this trip she was a teacher rather than a student. The challenge of focusing on the best way to communicate her information helped her to re-evaluate and clarify her own work, and she is looking forward to applying these concepts in class.
Dr. Vrunda Prabhu
Dr. Vrunda Prabhu Teaches Math to Mothers in India
Mothers as Teachers and Learners is the most recent program being developed for the community development project in rural Tamil Nadu, India. The teaching-research methodology developed in the Bronx mathematics classrooms (calculus, basic mathematics, and statistics) was invited into the communities first in the tsunami affected region of Tamil Nadu and since October 2005 in the western part of the state among the Arunthatiyar community. The intent of the invitation of the TR-NYC model of teaching-research was to bring "debates in education" to the teachers of the community-based schools. In the present design of Mothers as Teachers and Learners, the focus is on adult literacy of women, who "feel humiliated by the thumbprint" and want to learn to read, write for themselves and to facilitate their childrens' education. The design integrates Numeracy with Literacy and is based on the interrelatedness between Art, Number, and Language to motivate learning of one via any of the three approaches. The first iteration in the design is an exploration sequence entitled Enjoying Space, Shape, and Symmetry.
Dr. Nelson Reynoso
Dr. Nelson Reynoso Serves as Advisor to Higher Education
in the Dominican Republic
In 2005, Dr. Nelson Reynoso was appointed by the President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, to the Presidential Advisory Council on Higher Education. As member of the Advisory Committee, he has provided input into the restructuring of the higher education system in the Dominican Republic. In 2007, Dr. Reynoso travelled to the Dominican Republic to meet with the Secretary of Higher Education of the Dominican Republic to offer suggestions for improving their higher education system, which include the development of six new community colleges. The work is ongoing.
Professor John Socas
Professor John Socas Creates Worldwide Creative Development
Project in Zanzibar
In the summer of 2006 John Socas traveled to the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania with his wife, Jennifer Holmes. What they saw there inspired them to establish the Worldwide Creative Development Project, a program that uses theatre to promote literacy.
They discovered that a local school was badly in need of supplies and a non-government organization had just built a new library in the village but the library lacked books. Upon their return to the States John and Jennifer began raising funds for this community. In the summer of 2007, John and Jennifer traveled back to Zanzibar. On this visit, thanks to the generosity of friends, they were able to bring books, food, and school supplies.
Discovering that both teachers and students were hungry for new approaches to improving English literacy, they worked with students and teachers using dramatic activities to teach English. With the help of John and Jennifer, the students wrote a play, The Circumstances of Life, about their own lives all in English and performed it for their school and community.
Students and teachers have taken a real ownership of their work and, even after John and Jennifer returned to the States, the play these students created continues to have a life of its own. In fact John and Jennifer just received word from Emily Morris, the Country Director of the USAID’s Educational Development Center (EDC) in Zanzibar, that the students are so proud of their play that they have continued to perform it all over Zanzibar at various public events such as the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
John and Jennifer look forward to continuing their efforts to promote literacy in Zanzibar. To that end, they are renewing their fund raising efforts to support this community in need and are looking forward to their return to Zanzibar.
Now in its third year, the Worldwide Creative Development Project (WCDP) is a project with the goal of promoting English literacy around the world using playwriting and theatrical techniques. WDCP provides an opportunity for the participating students to develop their English literacy and for participating teachers to experience new pedagogical approaches to teaching.
The workshop uses the views and ideas of students and culminates in the creation of a final theatrical performance that is presented to the entire student body, and the community. There are numerous benefits of this workshop including:
- Improving participants’ written and oral communication skills in English by engaging them with native speakers of English in a creative, collective way.
- Teaching the participants valuable skills in verbal and written communication and physical articulation in English.
- Providing students with a no-cost opportunity to improve their language skills and cultivating students’ confidence in expressing their views on topics in a non-threatening and non-judgmental environment.
- Providing teachers with interactive and creative teaching techniques and English language enrichment.