Study Away Programs would like to congratulate Drs. Roger Dowdy and Letitia White, recipients of the 2013 Awards for Excellence in Study Away Programming. These awards recognize faculty members who strive to teach students, through courses and practicums given at a wide variety of international and domestic sites, about the values of diversity and inclusion, and how these values work to strengthen and uphold Missouri State University’s conceptual pillars of cultural competence and community engagement. Both Roger and Letitia received recognition at the All Faculty Recognition Reception on May 6, 2013 with a trophy, a plaque of achievement permanently displayed in the Study Away Programs office, and $1500 in professional development funds. We thank Dr. Dowdy and Dr. White for their invaluable contributions to our Missouri State community, and we invite you to read on for more details of these faculty members and their programs:
2013 Award for Excellence in Cultural Competence in Study Away Programming
A long-time Missouri State University faculty member in the Modern and Classical Languages Department, Dr. D. Roger Dowdy consistently delivers cultural competence in the preparation and delivery of his many short-term, faculty-led, study away programs, but most especially for his Intensive Spanish Study Program to Salamanca, Spain, held during the summer of 2012.
Roger led twenty-four students through a rigorous language and cultural study, ensuring language immersion through both home-stay arrangements with Spanish families and local language instruction, and the on-site instructors were duly impressed by the classroom performance of his students. He also taught these students cultural awareness of self and others by shepherding them to and instructing them about several unique historical sites throughout Spain, and he encouraged them to examine and articulate both differences and similarities among their native cultural norms and host site cultural norms. Dr. Dowdy consistently modeled respectful consideration of both individual and community-based belief systems. He successfully negotiated not only academic issues, but also hundreds of logistical decisions that often needed to be made at a moment’s notice. His Dean in the College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Gloria Galanes, took particular note of how the diverse elements of Roger’s program fit together to form a coherent whole that provided exceptional support towards the goals of the affiliated credit-bearing course.
Roger is described by his colleagues as manifesting an exceptional amount of passion and commitment to the Missouri State student body, and his students unfailingly report that traveling with Dr. Dowdy gave them the perfect combination of formal education, enlightening and often humbling experiences, and excitement.
2013 Award for Excellence in Community Engagement in Study Away Programming
A faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Dr. Letitia White works tirelessly to integrate her academic and professional knowledge into the needs of her short-term, faculty-led, study away program host community in Nicaragua.
Dr. White guided a group of seventeen Missouri State students to several sites in rural Nicaragua, including schools, an orphanage, and churches, with the end results of administration of hearing and speech evaluations to more than 200 children and adults, delivery and fitting of hearing aids, and the execution of a workshop for host community parents on speech and language development during childhood. Both graduate and undergraduate students in audiology, speech-language pathology, and education of the deaf or hard of hearing participated in this program, ensuring cross-disciplinary learning experiences and outcomes. Dr. White taught her students about the customs of rural Nicaraguan populations, demonstrated how to build mutually beneficial relationships between American universities and host community elementary schools, fostered an appreciation of the educational challenges facing both socioeconomically-disadvantaged and physically disabled populations, and modeled best practices of speech and hearing assessment of individuals with different primary languages than those of the assessor(s).
Dr. White is lauded by students for her attention to the needs of rural Nicaragua, her nuanced attitudes towards different belief systems encountered during the program, and her attention to the educational and personal needs of Missouri State students and faculty. Her colleague both at Missouri State and during the Nicaragua program, Dr. Lisa A. Proctor, says that Dr. White “continually attended to the learning needs of the students . . . [while] simultaneously consider[ing] the needs of the Nicaraguan people, all while exhibiting a calm and encouraging demeanor.”