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Visiting Kenya Professors Continue Building International Exchange

Photo of Dr. Lucas Othuon and Dr. Barrack OwuorLEXINGTON, KY (October 6, 2006) Bluegrass Community & Technical College (BCTC) recently welcomed Dr. Lucas Othuon, Associate Dean of Faculty Education, and Dr. Barrack Owuor, Director of International Relations, Maseno University, Kenya to its fall 2006 faculty. Both are participants in the BCTC/Kenya Cultural/Educational Exchange Partnership coordinated by Assistant English Professor Iddah Otieno.

The BCTC/Kenya Cultural/Educational Exchange Partnership launched its inaugural visit in June 2005 when BCTC Professor Otieno, accompanied by faculty members Carol Hunt and Ryan Kelly along with Eastern Kentucky University Professor Allan Hunt, visited Maseno University, Kenya. Professor Otieno, a 1994 graduate of the University, and the group spent the summer as guest lectures while participating in many community activities.

The exchange continues this semester with Dr. Othuon teaching math and psychology. Dr. Owuor is co-teaching biology and working on a joint research project with University of Kentucky Plant & Soil Sciences Professor Dr. David Van Sanford.

When questioned about the differences in the two college systems, Dr. Othuon replied
"Exposure and experience is readily available for students. The American system can teach us because it is more student centered, programs more detailed, and curriculum structured to accomplish specific goals. Technology is also readily available to students. This creates other platforms for learning beyond class lectures allowing for more open interactive discussions." Dr.Owour added, "Technology and modern labs are what impresses me most about the American system. I have to admit I am somewhat disappointed at the lack of minority students in biology."

Both expressed their sheer delight at the opportunity to teach and interact with students who they said were very welcoming.

University Maseno is one of Kenya's six public universities with a student body of 5,000 students. It has the distinction of being the only university located on the equator. The university places emphasis on internship training in pursuit of academic excellence, and hands-on skills. Acceptance into Kenya's Universities is highly competitive. Kenya's six universities have a capacity to accept only 10,000 students from a pool of 50,000 qualified candidates. The 13 private universities in Kenya absorb a small fraction of candidates left out by public universities..

In the summer of 2007, the exchange group from BCTC to Kenya will include BCTC President Dr. Jim Kerley. The group hopes to develop a student exchange program, explore a secondary school partnership with Okela Secondary School in the Bondo District of Western Kenya along with other academic amp; cultural experiences.

Photo: (Left to right) Dr. Lucas Othuon joins Dr. Barrack Owuor in front of the Kenya flag (black, red, green center of two men) in the BCTC Cooper Campus lobby.