By Veronica Kim
The Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) in Cape Town, South Africa has selected Adelene Africa as its new director, allowing the program — which was suspended indefinitely last fall for lack of staff— to resume summer quarter.
The Cape Town abroad program offers a broad range of courses in fields from STEM and social sciences to humanities and the fine arts. It is unique among Stanford’s overseas study programs because it offers a community service component in which students intern at local service organizations.
BOSP Cape Town was canceled for this spring quarter due to the unanticipated resignation of several faculty members, including the program director.
“Students come back from Cape Town immensely challenged and changed, but also sometimes taken to a point where you need to pull back,” said Ramón Saldívar, faculty director of BOSP, last fall. “That’s what happened to our director.”
Saldívar selected Africa as the director’s replacement from a pool of over 100 candidates.
“It was an involved and complicated process,” Saldívar said. “[But] in my opinion, [Africa] was really the one that obviously was the best prepared to take over.”
In Cape Town, Africa will oversee the administration of the program and provide academic leadership. She will also be in charge of hiring, mentoring and managing the local staff and providing logistical resources so that students have a good experience overseas. Such logistics include finding classroom space, planning trips and organizing homestays.
Africa will begin her new position on June 1.
Her past work experience includes teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the psychology department at the University of Cape Town. Her research emphasizes the intersectionality of identities.
“Her expertise in gender studies and the intersectionality of race, gender, class, disability and sexuality make her an ideal new director,” Saldívar said in a Stanford News press release.
Saldívar also said that Africa’s previous work with students in Cape Town gave her major advantages over other candidates for the position.
“She has a really clear sense of what it is that we’re trying to accomplish: a combination of academic work and community-engaged learning,” he said.
Applications for the Cape Town program’s summer period opened on Feb. 21 and will close March 12.
Contact Veronica Kim a vkim70 ‘at’ stanford.edu.