Dr. Kelly McFaden, assistant professor of education, was selected as the first University of North Georgia (UNG) faculty member to participate in the Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad Program.
The program provides short-term study and travel seminars abroad for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities to improve their understanding and knowledge of the people and cultures of other countries.
"I completely supported Dr. Kelly McFaden through her process of becoming the representative for the Fulbright-Hayes Seminar Abroad Program," said Dr. John Wilson, associate vice president of international programs at UNG. "She has an outstanding ability to teach and to transmit her knowledge to others, and I am so proud of her outstanding achievements."
The main focus of the seminar is to explore religious and cultural diversity in West Africa, particularly how Senegal has managed to maintain relative social harmony while balancing the integration of indigenous religions with Islam and Christianity.
"My experience in Senegal was both challenging and intensely rewarding," McFaden said. "The program was designed to give us as wide and complex a view of Senegalese culture and society as possible. We traveled to many locations around the country and had the opportunity to hear from the top scholars working in Senegal today as well as religious and human rights leaders. We visited universities, NGOs, and important religious sites. I'm particularly grateful to the staff at the West African Research Center (WARC) for facilitating such an amazing adventure and look forward to share my experience back at UNG."
She explored African Christianity and African Islam in Dakar, Senegalese culture and politics in Toubacouta, and Diola society and tradition in Ziguinchor. The program was hosted through the African Studies Center at Boston University in collaboration with WARC, based in Dakar.
In addition to teaching in UNG's College of Education, McFaden is coordinator of the college's international and global programs, incoming chair of the UNG Faculty Senate, and coordinator of the Social Foundations of Education program. She received her doctorate in social foundations of education with an emphasis in comparative and international education from the University of Georgia in 2013. Some of her recently published manuscripts include topics such as problematizing whiteness in teacher education and developing gender and orientation curricula to reduce bullying in K-12 institutions.
"Her passion for international education distinguishes her from other teachers. Because of her wonderful enthusiasm, masterful teaching skills, and commitment to multicultural education, I knew she was richly deserving of a Fulbright-Hayes Seminar Abroad Award and would represent the university well overseas," Wilson said.