Photo caption: Graduates from Africa Renewal University’s educational leadership and pedagogy certificate program receive physical certificates of completion at an Oct. 23 celebration of their achievements.
story by Claire Miller
At 6 a.m. on Oct. 23, Clinical Assistant Professor Will Rumbaugh logged into his laptop to watch a celebration taking place at Africa Renewal University (AfRU) in Buloba, Uganda.
The celebration recognized the first 11 students to complete the university’s new educational leadership and pedagogy certificate program, which Rumbaugh developed with colleagues at AfRU and officially launched in March.
Rumbaugh has been visiting AfRU and developing long-term partnerships with its faculty and staff for several years, thanks to funding from Georgia State University’s Office of International Initiatives.
“In 2021, I received a Faculty International Partnership Engagement Grant to expand an emerging relationship with school leaders and scholars in Uganda and to create a long-term partnership between these leaders and scholars from Uganda and Georgia State University,” he explained. “The grant funds provided an opportunity to travel to Uganda to search for collaborative research opportunities, investigate cross-cultural teaching possibilities and to explore the potential for a study abroad program.”
Since that 2021 visit, Rumbaugh has received additional funding from the Office of International Initiatives to develop a virtual exchange program connecting Georgia State educational leadership students with faculty members at AfRU, which will launch in 2024.
Rumbaugh and his colleagues’ ultimate goal is to establish an educational leadership master of education program at the university, and the certificate program they created was a first step toward that goal.
“The aim of this certificate program was to explore effective instructional leadership that supports the improvement of teacher practices and provides engaging, active learning environments for all students,” he said. “We plan to use the experiences of this short course certificate program – which we will deliver again in spring 2024 – to help us as we build an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at AfRU.”
The certificate program’s celebration on Oct. 23 was a meaningful one for Rumbaugh, who is also working on a memorandum of understanding between Georgia State and AfRU so that their work can grow.
“It was an honor to say a few words and to witness the celebration, even from 7,700 miles away,” he said. “I look forward to future travels to Uganda, successful virtual exchanges, more short course certificate programs, the development of the M.Ed. and future shared research and teaching opportunities between our two universities and countries.”