West Africa and the Diaspora: Continuities and Transformations


Update from CAORC: As the COVID-19 situation continues, we at CAORC have been closely monitoring the guidance of health and government officials in the US and overseas as we consider appropriate actions for our upcoming programs. While we were very much hoping that conditions would allow us to conduct programs in-person this coming winter, unfortunately it has been determined that we must postpone the Faculty Development Seminars. The health and safety of our participants and colleagues are a top priority. In addition, based on the uncertainty surrounding the likelihood of continued surges in cases around the world over the next several months, we would have difficulty confirming guest speakers and field trips, which are integral components that have an important impact benefiting the experience. We are currently working on the following revised plan for 2022:



Seminar dates tentatively beginning in late-May 2022 and ending mid-June 2022


CAORC is also planning to offer more Faculty Development Seminars once the pandemic subsides. In addition to Senegal, India, and Mexico, we are working on plans to conduct seminars in other countries, as well, over the next several years. Please continue to visit the CAORC website for updates on the Faculty Development Seminars.

​The Faculty Development Seminar to Senegal:

To support community colleges and minority-serving institutions, CAORC offers fully-funded overseas seminars that help faculty and administrators gain the requisite first-hand experience needed to develop and improve international courses, curricula, and teaching materials.


This program, administered by CAORC in collaboration with the West African Research Association and its member center in Senegal, the West Africa Research Center, funds participation in a two-week capacity building workshop in Dakar that will also include visits to Gorée Island, Toubacouta, and Saint-Louis, among other locations.

Funding for this program is provided to CAORC through a grant from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with additional financial assistance from the following U.S. National Resource Centers in African Studies: Boston University, Howard University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Kansas, and University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Round-trip travel, accommodations, in-country transportation, and meals will be provided for the seminar.


Seminar Overview: West Africa and the Diaspora—Continuities and Transformations

This two-week seminar geared towards faculty at U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions will feature lectures, site visits, panel discussions, and film screenings on the history, culture, arts, economy, and political life of Senegal, with a focus on cultural, intellectual, political, and economic connections between West Africa and the diaspora. The seminar will also place a special emphasis on Senegal’s spiritual diversity and religious tolerance, as well as the region’s growing transnational movements and their impact on society and especially young people.​

Eligibility and Program Expectations


The program is open to full-time or part-time faculty and administrators at U.S. community colleges or minority-serving institutions.* The program is open to faculty in all fields and encourages applicants from a diverse array of academic departments. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents at the time of application and must also have a valid passport or have already submitted an application for a new passport. Please note: Previously awarded CAORC seminar participants must wait at least two full competition cycles (typically three years) before applying for a new award.

At the conclusion of the program, participants will be required to:

  • Develop a 1-pg concept note of short and long-term goals to increase teaching and awareness about Senegal and West Africa in their classes and college community.

  • Develop new or improved course materials about Senegal that can be shared as Open Educational Resources on CAORC’s website and social media to enhance U.S. teaching on West Africa.

  • Contribute a short blog article, written for a popular audience, that expresses something about how the seminar improved your knowledge or understanding of Senegal.

*A useful directory of MSIs can also be found at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions.


Application Process


Applications can be accessed via CAORC's SM Apply application portal. You must sign up for an account to access the seminar application. This will allow you to save and return to your application before submitting. Please save your login/password information for future applications. Please note that the CAORC online grant application portal, Fluid Review, recently transitioned to SM Apply. If you previously signed up for a Fluid Review account, you can log in to SM Apply with your Fluid Review username and password.

In addition to providing basic personal and professional information, applicants are required to respond to the following essay questions (up to 500 words each):

  1. Please describe your professional and/or academic interest in participating in the faculty development seminar to Senegal. How will your professional and personal experiences, qualifications, and perspectives allow you to make the most of the seminar opportunity?

  2. Please describe how participation in this seminar is essential for your own professional development, i.e., improving your teaching, research, and/or administrative activities. How will you benefit professionally and personally from participating in the seminar?

  3. Please describe how participation in this seminar will directly impact your teaching, curriculum, and/or research. What specific projects, courses, or activities do you envision resulting from the seminar? More broadly, how might the experience positively impact your students, colleagues, institution, and/or community?

  4. Please discuss an occasion or time when you were confronted with attitudes, perspectives, values, or behaviors different from your own. How did you respond and what did you learn about yourself and your attitudes from the experience?

In addition, applicants are required to:

  • Upload a current cv/resume (less than 3 pages in length)


  • Request a letter of support from a department chair, academic division head, or academic dean at your college or institution. You will be able to send a link to your recommender via the online grant portal, SM Apply, by entering their contact details, which will trigger the system into sending an automated email. Your recommender will then be able to upload their letter. Recommendation letters will be confidential in the system. The applicant is responsible for checking in with their recommender to ensure the letter is submitted. 

In their letter, the recommender should address the following questions/points:

  1.  Please tell us why you support the applicant’s participation in the CAORC faculty development seminar. From your perspective, how will they benefit professionally from the program?

  2. Please describe the applicant’s engagement with your institution’s internationalization efforts and how their participation in the seminar might benefit students, colleagues, and the broader campus community.

  3. Please discuss the applicant’s collegiality, teamwork, and professionalism. How have they demonstrated the ability to cooperate, work, and share with others to achieve goals and positive outcomes?


All letters must be written and signed on institutional letterhead.


Opening date for applications: TBD

Application deadline: TBD

Notification of award decisions: TBD


If you have questions, please email: