Research News

UW-Madison students, Hawkins reflect on study abroad trip to Uganda

October 05, 2015

UW-Madison’s African Studies Program recently posted a series of wonderful graduate student essays and photographs highlighting a School of Education study abroad course that took place in Uganda this past summer.

This learning and research experience was led by Maggie Hawkins and Catherine Compton-Lilly, who are faculty members with the No. 1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Uganda study abroad tripHawkins explains, “For three weeks in July and August 2015, six graduate students and two faculty members from the School of Education spent three weeks in Uganda as part of a study-abroad course with a dual focus on comparative education and qualitative research. The course was a collaborative effort between the UW and Makerere Schools of Education; I was invited the prior year to engage with Makerere faculty in designing and implementing an intensive two-week graduate-level course on qualitative research approaches and methodologies for their students and ours, and it came to fruition in this experience.”

The UW-Madison students who made the trip include: Laura Hamman, Ph.D. student, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Simone Lawrence, Ph.D. student, Department of Educational Psychology; Giselle Martinez Negrette, Ph.D. student, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Stephanie Shedrow, Ph.D. student, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Lael Simmons, Ph.D. student with the Departments of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and Curriculum and Instruction; and Karissa Warner, master’s student with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

In writing about the experience, Hawkins continues: “Our first week in Uganda was spent visiting and working with schools. We initially spent several days at a government-aided primary school in a small village, learning about Ugandan educational policy, curriculum and pedagogies from staff, and sharing instructional materials and lessons.  We then visited several types of primary and secondary schools, ranging from faith-based to elite.  And we traveled to Queen Elizabeth Park to have a safari adventure.

“The following two weeks were spent at Makerere University in Kampala, attending class in the mornings, with a variety of afternoon activities (including visits to a home for teen mothers, an orphanage, and to schools to gather interview and observational data for class assignments).  Through discussions with Ugandan peers focused on research epistemologies and stances, approaches and methodologies, identifying research foci and questions, designing studies, interpreting data, and researcher positioning, students learned much about not only qualitative research, but also the culturally-embedded nature of educational research, and comparative differences in educational environments, policies and practices.”

The African Studies Program website then highlights a series of essays and photos by the participating UW-Madison students, with each one addressing different aspects of the trip, attesting to their experiences and learning.

Make sure and check out all of these write-ups on this African Studies Program web page.

Uganda study abroad