Professor Bridget Teboh set to return to Ondo, Nigeria

By Editor-In-Chief Chelsea Cabral.

Bridget Teboh, a Professor of History at UMass Dartmouth, has just learned that she has been offered The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship for a second time, after initially winning the fellowship in 2017.

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship (ADF) was created in 2014 by the Carnegie Foundation in New York to support African-born scholars who live in the U.S. or Canada and teach at accredited universities in those two nations, to engage in an educational project that would exemplify their commitment to higher education in Africa.

Offered by IIE (Institute of International Education) in collaboration with the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa), the program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY).

Professor Teboh will be returning to Adeyemi College of Education, a part of Obafemi Awolowo University in Ondo, Nigeria for a total of ninety days this summer—a much more extensive stay than her first trip to Nigeria in 2017.

“African scholars, including myself, are out serving other countries, and realize that African nations are poor and struggling, and that we can’t do much from where we are,” explained Teboh. “So, this fellowship is a perfect solution to that problem—transforming the African ‘brain drain’ into a something that sees us sharing our skills here with African institutions there.”

In 2017, Teboh travelled to Nigeria for eight weeks in the summer to mentor students and faculty there, develop new curricula, strengthen current courses in the history department—especially ones that failed to focus on contemporary African history—as well as working to develop a women’s studies center on the campus.

However, Teboh found that the initial eight weeks provided little to no time to implement the educational projects she sought to pursue on the Adeyemi campus. She returned in the summer of 2018 to continue her work, though not funded by ADF.

She exaplained, “you’re working on a timeline, with very specific goals, and directives from Carnegie. And then you get into the field and you realize ten different things that were not included, but that you must do before you tackle the three things you are commissioned to do.”

In its sixth year, the Carnegie ADF, to date, has helped 385 African-born scholars connect with their peers in Africa. Teboh, as one of those scholars in that pool of fellowship winners, has the incredibly unique opportunity to return to the same institution where she has served the last two summers to continue her work, especially rekindling relationships she has fostered there with the campus’ faculty and students.

“The last time that I was there, I started, what we’d call here, a Women’s Studies program. In Africa you can count on the tips of your fingers how many universities have a women’s studies program or department. They don’t think it’s important. Adeyemi College of Education is one of the few that had requested the start of that program on their campus,” Teboh explained. “So in my last time there I had to develop curriculum for the program, and it is up and running now. It’s very exciting to see.”

Teboh, along with continuing curriculum development, seeks to work on other professional goals while there this summer, such as leading professional writing and research workshops that will assist both students and professors there.

“After this, I’m afraid this will be my last tenure at Adeyemi College, but I will still be able to apply to work at a different institution,” laments Teboh. “Though this time I’m excited because I’ve got the maximum of 90 days in the fellowship, so I will be there all summer.”

For more information on the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship, or on Professor Teboh’s research and academic interests, you can direct all inquiries to bteboh@umassd.edu.

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