(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Dec. 5, 2018) - - - Columbia State Community College professor of sociology, Dr. Candace Warner, recently accepted a fellowship from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and the American Institute of Indian Studies that will allow her to participate in a faculty development seminar led in India.
The seminar, “Exploring Urban Sustainability through India’s Cities,” is an intensive capacity-building and curriculum development seminar in India from January 2 – 18, 2019 that will include visits to the cities of Jaipur, Mysore and Bangalore to study the various economic, cultural, social and environmental pressures confronting some of India’s most important emerging cities. Warner was one of 16 applicants chosen from a pool of more than 100; in addition, she was the only professor that was selected from a Tennessee college or university.
“I’ve been fascinated with India for years, but really fell in love with India when I traveled there for the first time,” Warner said. “I am extraordinarily fascinated by its diversity of people, language, colors, sights, sounds, culture – everything. I love sparking that interest in students.”
The COARC-AIIS fellowship award was awarded to applicants from community colleges or minority-serving institutions that commit to expanding learning about India within their courses and college community. The award funds course fees, airfare, in-country travel and accommodations for the seminar, as well as a stipend of $500 to help cover daily expenses and incidentals. As part of the seminar, Warner will be expected to develop a concrete proposal for expanding learning about India within her courses and/or the college community.
“I feel extraordinarily honored to be selected for this learning opportunity with other scholars interested in learning more about India and passing along on what I learn about India’s economic and environmental challenges to our Columbia State students,” Warner said.
Warner currently leads the India study abroad program through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies for three weeks during the summer – so far, she has led students in the program through the cities of Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi in 2017 and 2018, and will lead the program again in July 2019 in these three cities.
“My motivation in exposing students to the diversity of Indian culture, religion, language and people is extraordinarily high,” Warner said. “As part of my current TnCIS directorship, I am continuously seeking to expand the service and experiential learning opportunities to help students understand the challenges and rewards of addressing social problems in a complex and diverse society.”
Warner’s leadership in the sociology field recently lead her to be the plenary speaker at the 12th annual TnCIS conference. She presented “Using the Sociological Perspective: Fostering Cultural Competency in Today's Study Abroad Students,” which highlighted how she encourages the use of the sociological perspective when traveling and exposing students to cultural environments that are much different than their own. She shared her approach to international education and fostering cultural competency in all students, but particularly for students traveling to India and other non-Western countries.
“A significant part of my sociology courses is teaching students to be open-minded to other cultures and using what we call the sociological perspective, which is really a way of saying ‘take yourself out if it’ and try to view scenarios and other cultures as an outsider but not from a place of judgment,” Warner said. “I hope this presentation reminded all faculty leading study abroad programs to foster a sense of cultural awareness, lack of judgment, openness and understanding about other cultures among their students in the study abroad process.”
Founded in 1981, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers is a private nonprofit federation of independent overseas research centers that promote advanced research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with a focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies. To learn more about CAORC, visit www.caorc.org.
The American Institute of Indian Studies was formed to further the knowledge of India in the United States by supporting American scholarship on India. The programs of AIIS promote and advance mutual understanding between the citizens of the U.S. and of India. To learn more about AIIS, visit www.indiastudies.com.
TnCIS represents nineteen colleges and universities devoted to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education throughout the state of Tennessee. TnCIS sponsors an annual conference on international education and continues to expand study abroad and international educational opportunities for students throughout the state. TnCIS welcomes membership from all colleges, universities and other organizations seeking to expand opportunities for international educational exchanges. To learn more about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org.
To learn more about Columbia State’s Study Abroad program, visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/StudyAbroad.