Stella Williams

Stella Williams
Assistant professor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Nigeria
Lecturing: Environmental Economics
Host: Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, WA
August 2003-May 2004

Global Issues on a Local Scale

In 2003-2004, Bellevue Community College (BCC) hosted its first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Stella Williams. A scholar, activist and policy advisor on gender and fisheries trade, Williams engaged students, faculty and the community in a year-long exploration of Nigerian culture and environmental issues. She also participated in a cross-cultural examination of Nigerian fisheries and the Northwest salmon industry. Williams is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Williams taught three classes during her nine-month visit, one of which was an intensive interdisciplinary seminar developed and team-taught with BCC instructors in economics and English. Entitled "Size Matters: Growth, Prosperity and Equity in the Global Village," the seminar examined complex questions of globalization, population growth, environmental degradation and social justice. For the 25 participating students, it constituted their entire academic experience for the enrolled quarter.

Williams also offered symposia throughout the year for students and faculty and served as a guest lecturer for over 30 classes and student clubs-Amnesty International, Model United Nations, Black Student Union-across the curriculum. She served as an ambassador to the community presenting programs in K-12 schools, regional colleges and universities and civic organizations.

"The visit to Washington, DC was also a delightful insight into the Fulbrighters in my cohort and the countries we come from," said Williams, who attended the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Conference. "Spending four days together, sharing experiences, asking pertinent questions, learning from staff at CIES and the State Department that we met for the first time after corresponding for so many months was educational and inspirational."

Williams hopes to take home with her many of the teaching methods and strategies used in the United States, including distance-learning technology. She plans to integrate the practical knowledge she gained about PowerPoint and other graphic-based education tools into her lesson plans in Nigeria. Williams was also inspired by the closer interpersonal relationships exhibited between teachers and students at BCC and hopes to adjust her teaching at home to build these relationships and empower her students.

"For me, participating with diverse faculty in an interdisciplinary studies class was like a workshop where teaching activities among the team helped to broaden my outlook and methodology for teaching," said Williams. "I will take back home with me this new experience gained from participating in an integrated learning community. I am now ready to engage in multidisciplinary development in my future teaching at my university."