Alumni Association helps African Ph.D. student travel to Residency

Ph.D. student Edward Fiawoo

West African doctoral student Edward Fiawoo was worried that living 5,700 miles away from Cincinnati would affect the completion of his Ph.D. program. The West African attorney, who also serves as a Brigadier General in the Ghana Armed Forces, needed to attend his last required Ph.D. residency at Union Institute & University, January 4-10, 2016, but the cost of the travel was $2500.

When Union’s International Alumni Association heard of his situation, they came to his rescue, made use of their fundraising efforts, and purchased the airline ticket on his behalf.

“Because Union specializes in adult education and has perfected flexible class times and online courses, Edward is able to pursue his doctorate 5,700 miles away from his hometown of Accra in West Africa,” said Carolyn Krause, Union Institute & University vice president for advancement. “Each January and July, about 100 or more doctoral candidates come together to participate in very valuable face-to-face time with their faculty and fellow students. This rich academic experience includes presentations by leading scholars, face-to-face interaction with faculty and cohort members, and creative activities that include engagement with program themes such as social justice, engaging difference, and creativity unite theory and practice,” said Krause. “This is not something Edward – or his faculty – wanted to miss.”

“Edward had attended all his required residencies for the past two years, borrowing from friends and relatives and scrimping and saving. Because he is not a U.S. resident, he is not eligible for federal financial aid,” said Krause. “It is a testament to both Edward’s success as a doctoral student and the passion and loyalty that our Union alumni feel. Union is all about service and social responsibility, and this exchange brought our mission to life.”

Fiawoo selected Union after a thorough internet search. “I was on the internet looking for a school to pursue a Ph.D. degree and I  found the Union website. I was moved by the information about the programs, history, content, and pedigree of Union from the literature and video clip I watched,” he said. “I immediately applied to pursue my Ph.D. with a major in Public Policy and Social Change, and after Union’s rigorous selection process, I was granted admission,” said Fiawoo. “Upon completion, I intend to teach or enter into a lectureship. I will also be interested in doing consultancies in areas of my expertise.”

Union Institute & University’s International Alumni Association Board

“Making it possible for Edward to attend his residency is part of Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults in their pursuit of a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility,” said P. Neal Meier, director of alumni relations at Union. “The International Alumni Association continually strives to meet the needs of our greater Union family. Making it possible for this student to attend his residency is just one example of our alumni’s dedication to the university.”

Union Institute & University’s doctoral program plays a distinctive role in American higher education. Grounded in humanistic inquiry, the majors within the Ph.D. incorporate developing interdisciplinary fields of study in ways that advance your understanding of ethics, the creative process, and the possibilities of institutional and social change. The mission of the program is to question and reexamine the principles and values that govern our society. The program challenges students to become committed agents for social change and work to solve the issues within our societies.