Texas Woman’s professor brings the world to her classroom
You might have trouble finding caterpillars, termites and fermented milk on store shelves in Texas, but, as a Texas Woman’s University global perspectives class recently learned, these are staples in South Africa.
Through a unique partnership, Nutrition and Food Sciences assistant professor Monique LeMieux, Ph.D., is taking an introductory Food and Culture class to the next level by co-teaching with a professor from the University of Venda (UNIVEN) in South Africa. The first half of the course’s curriculum covers cultures from each continent, leading up to video conferences with a Food Science and Technology class at UNIVEN.
During a class session in March, TWU students asked questions about South African culture and cuisine to UNIVEN students, who demonstrated the preparation of dishes popular in their country. Future class sessions will include TWU students displaying and discussing food and culture of the United States, Texas and their own diverse backgrounds.
LeMieux’s lifelong fascination with other cultures was fueled in graduate school where she learned with classmates from other countries. She hopes to inspire curiosity about the world in her students.
“In putting together this unique course, my goal is for TWU’s students to build skills and strategies necessary for interacting professionally with other cultures,” LeMieux said. “Whether these students are involved in business or nutrition, they may one day have clients from around the globe."
LeMieux doesn’t plan on stopping with South Africa, either. She is working to build partnerships with universities in Turkey and Sri Lanka, with plans for building a network of culture-sharing classrooms on every continent. For future semesters, she sees an expansion of this face-to-face course that includes sharing the video conference recordings with online students.
But before saying goodbye for the semester, TWU’s students had one last question for their new South African friends: “Can you show us the termites again?”