Sophomore Seminars

A Comparative Exploration of Higher Education in Jamaica (Anglo-Caribbean) and South Africa


How do developing (former colonized) nations feature in global conversations on the purpose of higher education in the Twenty-first Century and beyond? In this seminar students will examine higher education systems in South Africa, and the Caribbean – with special emphasis on Jamaica. Together we will engage and explore fundamental questions such as: Is higher education purely a private good or a public good with private benefits? Are universities simply a means of social mobility in developing countries? How has student activism as evidenced by movements such as #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall in South Africa, and The Rodney Riots at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica reshaped the higher education landscape and the national discourse? What role does higher education play in the attainment of national development goals? How does the decolonization debate play out in university spaces? What lessons can we learn from exploring how higher education is unfolding in Jamaica and South Africa? How does our present positionality as participants in the higher education system of the United States shape our understanding of other global contexts? 

In this project based seminar you will actively engage in conversation with published literature, multimedia presentations, as well as, with guest lecturers from the Caribbean and South Africa.  Each student will develop a creative project to explore in depth a higher education topic/issue of interest within an international context.

This seminar will be delivered online using a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous modes. All students are welcome. Students who have studied or are considering studying outside the United States, may find this particularly relevant.


Meet the Instructor(s)

Chad O. Coates

"As an undergraduate, I studied abroad at Regent’s College in London, England and at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. During graduate school, I completed summer programs in Tours, France, and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; and presented research at conferences in Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, and the United States. These transnational educational experiences were distinctively unique in contrast to my schooling as a young lad growing up in Jamaica. I have visited South Africa several times and have learned much from the dynamics of South African higher education post- Aparthied. My research interests include the educational developments in the Caribbean and South Africa, the role of private higher education institutions in contributing to national development goals, and the role of student activism and student movements in effecting institutional change. 

"I am an Academic Advising Director at Stanford. I earned my PhD in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University, a MBA and BA from Long Island University. Prior to Stanford, I served as the Associate Dean of Students / Dean of First-Year Student at Bowdoin College, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Advising, and Co-Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) at Cornell University, and Associate Director of The Learning Support Center at Long Island University. While at Cornell, I also served as a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. In real life I enjoy listening to soca, reggae, and classical music, watching Bob's Burgers and on occasion Rick and Morty."