Southern Oregon University’s School of Education served as one of the leading organizers for the inaugural World Conference on Transformative Education in Kenya.
The theme of the conference, held Thursday through Saturday, July 26-28, at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, Kenya, is “Rethinking Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research in Africa.”
SOU Assistant Professor Bryce Smedley — an organizer of the conference and the university’s representative at the event — credited SOU’s Global Connections Initiative for an expanding commitment to international education.
“We are part of a global community and therefore we must create globally competent teachers here in Southern Oregon,” Smedley said. “SOU is not only participating in these discussions but actively providing leadership and making an international difference.”
Conference topics include Smedley’s work, “Transformative Education Through Service Learning and English Language Clubs,” and other topics including child development, teaching indigenous languages and educational opportunity in rural and developing regions.
The WCTE is co-sponsored by Southern Oregon University, the Global Institute for Transformative Education, the Bay and Paul Foundations, the School Project Foundation and Ball State University.
Keynote speakers include Ambassador Amina C. Mohamed, current cabinet secretary for the Kenya Ministry of Education; sociologist and professor Colletta A. Suda; governor of Kakamega County Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya; and many other experts in the fields of child development, culturally responsive teaching and holistic education.
SOU’s sponsorship of the conference is part of the School of Education’s effort to expand opportunities for both international and local students, said John King, director of the university’s Division of Education, Health and Leadership. The school’s Global Connections Initiative is also resulting in partnerships with education professionals and organizations worldwide. It has led to engagement with English learners of all ages and backgrounds, including displaced refugees in sub-Saharan Africa.
Through the initiative, SOU has participated in the construction of a community literacy center and girls’ school in Chombo, Malawi; promotion of teacher and student exchanges with the Roong Aroon School in Thailand; and membership in the Pacific Circle Consortium to support inter-cultural learning, educational research and policy development across the Pacific region.
The SOU School of Education will integrate both content and connections from the conference into upcoming courses in the school’s graduate and undergraduate catalogs, and continue international outreach and recruitment efforts.