CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: August 12, 1999
Iowa teachers travel to Africa as part of UI program
IOWA CITY, Iowa Some Iowa students will learn
about African geography this year from teachers with firsthand knowledge gained
during a month in Nigeria this summer as part of a group led by University
of Iowa professors. Some 17 Iowa high school and college teachers traveled
to Nigeria July 7-Aug. 7 and will use their experiences to develop curricular
material to increase American students' understanding of Africa.
"We will be developing curricular materials based
on the National Geography Standards," said Rex Honey, a UI professor and the
project director, before leaving for Nigeria. "We will produce written and
Internet versions of our materials, so that teachers in Iowa and elsewhere
will have sound, appropriate African material at their disposal." Honey is
director of global studies and a professor of geography at the UI. The trip
was his 11th to Nigeria this decade.
The federal government's Fulbright-Hays Group Projects
Program, the Geographical Alliance of Iowa, and UI International Programs
provided funding for the $142,000 project.
Before leaving for Nigeria, participants attended
a series of workshops and individual activities to prepare for the trip. In
Nigeria, the group worked with colleagues from the University of Jos and the
University of Ibadan. They spent the first half of the month in Jos, in the
country's central plateau, working with geographers and giving a workshop
on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The second working site was in the
rainforest of southwestern Nigeria, where the group worked with geographers
from the University of Ibadan.
Rebecca Roberts, a UI geography professor, was the
academic content specialist for the Jos portion of the work. She is an environmental
specialist and has the added benefit of having been a secondary school science
teacher. This was her fifth trip to Nigeria. Terna Gbasha, who is affiliated
with the UI International Center, was the Nigerian director in Jos.
Honey was responsible for the academic content of
the Ibadan portion of the work. Last year he and Stanley Okafor, head of the
department of geography at the University of Ibadan, published a book on grassroots
development organizations in Nigeria. Okafor taught at the UI in 1992 and
1994 and at Iowa State University in 1997. Okafor was the Nigerian director
of the Ibadan portion of the project.
Kay Weller, coordinator of the Geographical Alliance
of Iowa, was the pedagogical expert for the project. She is professor of both
geography and education at the University of Northern Iowa.
Aaron Shields and Brennan Kraxberger, both doctoral students
in geography at the UI, worked as graduate assistants for the project.
The teachers involved in the project are:
CEDAR FALLS/CEDAR RAPIDS: Dan Walsh, a student
at the University of Northern Iowa, who teaches at a Cedar Rapids youth offender
DAVENPORT: Anne Hoeper, who teaches 7th grade world
geography at Wood Intermediate in Davenport.
DES MOINES: Chris Joslin, a social studies and
foreign language teacher at Holy Trinity School in Des Moines.
DUBUQUE: Cyndi Oldenkamp, who teaches special education
at Hempstead High School in Dubuque; Kim Daughetee, who teaches special
education at Central Alternative High School in Dubuque.
INDEPENDENCE: David Denhartog, who teaches government,
psychology and world geography to 11th and 12th graders at Independence High
NEW HARTFORD: Kathy Sundstedt, who teaches social
studies at Dike-New Hartford Junior High.
OTTUMWA: Natasha Cooper, who teaches world cultures
and geography at Evans Middle School in Ottumwa.
TAMA: George Kuhter, who teaches 8th grade social
studies at South Tama Middle School.