January 27, 2015
Academic life brought Dr. Albert Korir from Kenya to the United States. Now, academics are taking him back home.
Korir, an associate professor of chemistry at Drury, is one of 60 scholars in the United States and Canada from a variety of fields to be selected for the latest round of Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowships. The program facilitates engagement between U.S. and Canadian scholars born in Africa with their African counterparts.
Korir will teach at Moi University this summer. His project will involve co-developing a curriculum that uses innovative technological strategies for teaching chemistry using the “flipped-class” model. While there, he’ll have the opportunity to teach using a set of web-based tools he and a group of colleagues have been developing for several years called the Analytical Sciences Digital Library (ASDL).
“We’ve developed web-based material that is peer-reviewed and freely available to both instructors and students,” he says.
There’s no shortage of online tools for learning, Korir says, but few are peer-reviewed in this way.
Korir became involved with ASDL after coming to a typical crossroads for chemistry graduates: research industry or academia? A faculty mentor during his graduate school years at the University of Kansas saw Korir’s potential as a teacher and encouraged him to remain in academia while at the same time conducting research.
A handful of students have worked directly with Korir on research projects every year since he joined the Drury faculty in 2008, giving him a chance to pass on the mentorship and guidance that helped him find his own career footing.
Korir will bring this personalized style of teaching with him to Kenya. The “flipped” classroom model sees students take in the lectures at home via the web and come to class for discussions and apply their knowledge and collaborate with others on projects.
“My colleagues in Africa tell me the students have become very receptive to this style of learning – they’re getting to interact with the professors more closely now,” Korir says.
Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.