Dr. Rhonda Collier, associate professor of English and Modern Language and director of the Tuskegee University Global Office, has made an amazing race around the world, visiting 25 countries, and speaking in four languages. While at Tuskegee, she focuses her teaching on bringing the world to the classroom and the classroom to the world.
Exploring the World
Collier’s love for international travel came at an early age growing up as a military brat and living in England, Africa, Brazil and Uruguay. She’s also had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout South America, the Caribbean and Europe.
“Having the experience to live and study abroad as a Ph.D. student in Brazil and working with students has certainly shaped my love for learning about different cultures and inspiring and educating students to learn about the world,” Collier said.
“Themes of my classroom typically involve students getting to know some place outside of the United States –– so even if they are taking an American literature course, they are also involved in knowing about places that impacted the United States,” she continued. “Whether its England, Germany, France or Spain, they’re always aware that the world doesn’t just evolve around the U.S., but there’s a bigger world outside of where we live.”
As director of the TU Global Office, she encourages students to be globally engaged and strives to teach them the importance of becoming global citizens and solving global problems.
Since being in the TU Global Office, Collier has helped provide free passports to more than 300 students since 2015, with the support of the President’s Office and the Council on International Education.
“A lot of students come to my office because they are interested in studying abroad. We help Tuskegee students find placements, scholarships, and we also work with International students attending the university,” Collier said.
Collier also helps international students secure their visas, and the office hosts mixers throughout the year – with one of its best-known events being its annual International Thanksgiving Dinner. “Our International Thanksgiving Dinner provides turkey and all the trimmings that go along with our traditional holiday. We play games as well, and the entire occasion gives students a format to understand what Thanksgiving is about,” she said.
“Having been an international student myself, it’s important to make our international students feel welcomed and like they are home. I was given much support as a student while away from home, and it makes the transition easier for them,” added Collier.
Collier says since she’s been at Tuskegee, the experience for her has been amazing, and she’s happy to share and bring the global experience to the local campus community
“Seeing the changes students undergo has become the most rewarding part of my job – especially hearing the stories from my students after they’ve completed their international course, or even seeing how amazed they are with other cultures when we’re visiting different countries,” she shared.
“Our students are fortunate of global opportunities. These experiences allow them to see the world through a different lens and give them a chance to become global ambassadors for Tuskegee, which gives them a platform to share their experience with other students,” noted Collier.
“This is an informative experience, and I believe every student should take advantage of this opportunity. It shows them even here at home, Tuskegee University has a global brand that others recognize outside of the United States,” added Collier.
In December, students in the global program will be gearing up for a trip to Liberia, and Collier is working on establishing an abroad placement program in Cuba the following year.
To learn more information about Tuskegee’s Global Office visit https://www.tuskegee.edu/tugo.
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