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Murray State College professor awarded grant to attend seminar in Senegal, West Africa

November 22, 2019


Her application rising to the top in a pool of more than 150 applicants, Murray State College Associate Professor of Social Sciences Dr. Rebecca Jacobs-Pollez was awarded a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and the West African Research Center(WARC) to attend a faculty development seminar in Senegal. The seminar, which will take place January 6-23, 2020 in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar, is focused on the history, culture, economy, and political life of Senegal, with a special emphasis on the country’s spiritual diversity and interreligious dialogue and tolerance.

The grant application was submitted as part of recent interfaith and cultural awareness efforts by Jacobs-Pollez and others on MSC’s Cultural Events Committee.  Upon hearing that she was awarded the grant, Jacobs-Pollez said she is “….greatly honored by the award,” citing the sponsors of CAORC and the kind of work they are doing.  Following the seminar, and as part of grant funding, Jacobs-Pollez will create coursework for CAORC's website.  Information will help educate students at Murray State and those in local communities about African history and culture.

“This is an exciting and worthwhile opportunity for Murray State College and Dr. Jacobs-Pollez.  Our Cultural Events Committee has been working very hard to bring knowledge and understanding of diverse populations to students in southern Oklahoma.  This seminar will allow Dr. Jacobs-Pollez to bring home important insight into the globalized learning environment of which we are all a part,” said MSC President Joy McDaniel.

Geared toward community college faculty and minority-serving institutions in the U.S., the two-week conference will feature lectures, panels, film screenings, and discussions to help attendees better understand the complexities of diversity, religion, and migration in contemporary West Africa.

According to the call for grant applications, as local issues such the region’s growing transnational movements and their impact on local young people, attract greater attention across the globe, “It is critical that American educators be able to interpret them for students eager to understand the rapid changes taking place in both the larger world and their own communities.”

For information, contact Dr. Rebecca Jacobs-Pollez at​


CAORC (Council of American Overseas Research Centers) recognizes the immediate and growing need for professors at U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions to provide a global perspective to their students. These administrators and faculty understand the value of developing “internationalized” learning environments that both broaden their students’ cultural horizons and foster critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills for an increasingly interconnected world.


Founded in 1981, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) is a U.S. non-profit 501(c)(3) federation of independent overseas research centers, including the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), that promote advanced scholarly research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with a focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies. The centers are the primary vehicle through which American scholars carry out research vital to our understanding of and intersection with other cultures. CAORC member centers maintain a permanent presence in the host countries where they operate—in Europe, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and West Africa.

The council is funded in part by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Smithsonian Institution, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Getty Foundation, as well as through fees paid by members.

About WARC

The West African Research Center (WARC) was created in 1992 to promote academic and cultural exchange between U.S./African researchers and West African research institutions. Its various programs and multiple services facilitate scholarly research and collaboration among partner institutions, including: Boston University, the University of Minnesota, the University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD-Dakar), the Research Institute for Development (IRD), and a wide range of local and international NGOs.