Candace Maddox Moore Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award to Study Higher Education’s COVID-19 Response in Ghana
University of Maryland Associate Clinical Professor Candace Maddox Moore received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award from the U.S. State Department to study in Ghana during the 2021-2022 academic year. She will be conducting research and teaching at the University of Cape Coast, as part of her project, “Culturally Conscious Pedagogy and Practice: Collaborating to Inform Ghanaian Higher Education COVID-19 Response.”
Dr. Moore’s Fulbright project will focus on Ghanaian higher education practices—as opposed to centering ideologies and approaches from the Global North—as she explores promising ways to enhance African student affairs and higher education. With COVID-19 transforming education worldwide, she’ll explore teaching and scholarship in Ghana that leverages the country’s cultural and traditional practices to adapt higher education in light of the pandemic.
“In my scholarship, I’ll look at how Ghanaian practitioners and faculty are using culturally conscious pedagogy and practices in their responses to COVID-19,” Dr. Moore said.
For example, one cultural practice she may investigate is the use of Adinkra symbols and the proverbs that typically accompany them--part of Ghanaian, Akan tradition--and how they influence student affairs practices that support the well-being of students. This work would be undertaken as part of a participatory action research design with Ghanaian graduate students, faculty and practitioners making up Dr. Moore’s research team. She seeks to understand how Ghanaian higher education faculty and administrators are using indigenous knowledge, in ways that will serve as guideposts and help to support the overall welfare and success of students in college during and outside of the pandemic.
“The Fulbright Scholars Program is one of the most prestigious recognitions a faculty member could receive, and it is an acknowledgement about the importance and impact of Dr. Moore’s work,” said Dr. William Ming Liu, chair of the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education in the UMD College of Education.
Dr. Moore will research the impact of COVID-19 on how practitioners and faculty have negotiated challenges and opportunities like issues around connectivity in Ghana, which became more significant during the pandemic. Some students do not have access to reliable internet, and there are rolling blackouts in the region which affect online access. Additionally, national legislation passed in 2017 that made senior high school education—comparable to U.S. high school—free, significantly increased the student population entering university, increasing teaching needs and pressures on physical campuses.
“Ghanaian higher education officials have been creative in their approaches to engaging and supporting students throughout the pandemic. This includes revisiting the academic calendar and making changes to degree completion to support students who weren’t able to engage in virtual learning. They’ve also made some shifts in how services are delivered, with dedicated faculty and staff who are essentially engaging in support mechanisms for students year-round,” Dr. Moore said.
Dr. Moore’s approach is collaborative in nature, working closely with faculty and students at the University of Cape Coast’s Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), with an emphasis on developing work that benefits both Ghana and the United States. IEPA was recently designated a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence, which involves undertaking collaborative research in educational planning, administration and leadership, and leading professional development training. Dr. Moore has long-standing relationships with IEPA, having previously co-led a global classroom with the Institute’s Director General, Dr. Michael Boakye-Yiadom, and co-leading an annual short-term study abroad program, Higher Education in the Ghanaian Context, that partners with the Institute.
Dr. Moore was drawn to work in Ghana based on its sociohistorical importance in global higher education, as well as sharing a general desire to decolonize how we imagine education.
“Global higher education has its roots in Africa, and how it has transformed over the years has been influenced by colonial expectations of what learning should look like,” Dr. Moore said. “There is an interconnected history between the Gold Coast of Africa and the rest of the world. When we think of how uprooting a free people for enslavement across the world has impacted us globally and how the present day coastlines of Ghana were used by Euro-American, European and Porteguese colonizers as places to inflict harm and destruction on African humanity, I can’t think of a better place than Ghana to go back, bring forward, and engage in work that is transformative and that is drawing on the rich knowledge, history and culture that’s already there to serve as a benchmark and pacesetter for higher education across Africa and the world.”
Dr. Moore is a faculty member in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education and Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education in the UMD College of Education.