International Education KC Chair-Elect
Senior Resident Director, Residential and Community Living
University of California, Santa Barbara
“We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so, we understand why and how we came to be who we are today ... SANKOFA.”
SANKOFA is the essence and philosophical approach of how I navigate and guide my being as a global educator and scholar practitioner. It is an Ancestral proverb that I was gifted in 2015 during my first pilgrimage to Ghana, West Africa; and in the same year, I was introduced to the International Education Knowledge Community (IEKC) within NASPA. This proverb is relevant to me personally and serves as a framework of how I intend to collaborate with colleagues around the world to continue the purpose, goals, and legacy of the IEKC for the 2022-2024 term.
Upon beginning my service with the IEKC leadership team in 2016-2018 and returning for the 2020-2022 term, there has been an overwhelming effort and success to expand the KC’s engagement around the world through promoting the Best Practices Awards, professional development via Live Briefings, and encouraging attendance at NASPA’s International Symposium. Overall building and sustaining connections with student affairs scholar practitioners in international education has been what I have observed the foundational premise of why the IEKC exists.
The value of expanding knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of how professionals service and educate students, faculty, and staff from an international context evolves every day. The IEKC’s role has been vital in bridging the gap globally in providing a hub to share this information and expand global connections. For the 2022-2024 term, I imagine that humanity’s “new normal” (post the global pandemic) will be fully operational. If this is the case, it will be fitting for members of the IEKC to garner the ideas of SANKOFA in order to allow the historical perspective of the KC to guide us in the present, that will also shape the future. I invite us collectively to service the world via the following IEKC intentions rooted in our past that will support us moving forward:
Current: Fostering engagement and conversation with colleagues globally
- 2022-2024: Having active member representation from every continent on the leadership team and within the KC
Current: Increase the awareness of global perspective and international research
- 2022-2024: Understand, support, and encourage student services practices from all cultural perspectives and lens, including the promotion of culturally sensitive language and representation in research, assessment, and literature
Current: Create plans for IEKC recruitment and succession of members
- 2022-2024: Begin engaging with graduate students to support recruitment and succession, and ongoing retention of members
Current: Create ongoing professional development opportunities
- 2022-2024: Encourage KC members to share individual research interests, professional experience, and unique skills and talents as professional development opportunities
Current: Virtual engagement (monthly emails and quarterly newsletters)
- 2022-2024: Increase consistent online presence via global social media platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, etc.) in addition to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.
Current: Increase KC partnerships and collaborations
- 2022-2024: Identify KC’s for partnerships including Undocumented Immigrants and Allies, Wellness and Health Promotions, and all affinity KC’s during Heritage celebratory months
Current and 2022-2024: Continuation of building IEKC’s administrative organization and supporting and encouraging the signature initiatives of the Best Practices Awards, Sponsored Programs, collaboration with the International Symposium, and defining the IEKC role within the NASPA Global Division
- Establish partnerships and collaborations with international education organizations around the world
- Establish partnership with the US Department of Education to create a signature initiative during the annual International Education Week in November
The foundational principle I intend to serve with as the next Chair of the IEKC is to lead with curiosity by opening my eyes and ears to listen to all members as we cultivate global learning. Grounding our thinking, goals, and purpose in the spirit of SANKOFA, by going back and reclaiming our IEKC past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today will help us continue to thrive. We are already doing great work, let’s continue to level out and up! Thank you.