My inspiration to join JWL came from having a genuine desire to impact society even in the smallest of ways. Given my background, I had a deep connection with the nature of students at JWL and I just had to go for it.
Joy Mwangi-Katusabe, from Uganda, moved to Kenya to pursue her university education in the field of International Relations, with a special interest in political science, conflict, conflict management and diplomacy. Her graduate thesis, at the United States International University – Africa, examined the impact of Refugee Populations on their Host Communities in Africa’s Great Lakes Region. During her studies, she also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant within the Department of International Relations and always enjoyed learning facilitation.
Joy first joined JWL as an online tutor in 2014. Three years later, she became a faculty member teaching Introduction to Political Thought, stemming from an eagerness to engage more with JWL learners. “The most rewarding moment for me has been, seeing the impact of the work we do in our students when they grow personally and become better people in their respective societies,” she told us, adding that, “The icing on the cake is knowing that the students understand that they are not forgotten and appreciate it.”
I spent 20 years in banking and finance in various leadership positions in Asia and North America. I have a BS in Economics and an MBA degree which I completed through various scholarships, hence volunteering for JWL is something so close to my heart and fulfils my aspiration to help support my advocacy for education. I always enjoy teaching and learning and believe that education is an effective tool for inclusive human development. Aside from teaching business courses for JWL since 2011, I was also a Subject Matter Expert who developed the Principles of Marketing course, which was approved by my institution, University of San Francisco. I was the academic lead for that course which was taught by three other global faculty for many years.
Currently, I am a business faculty at University of San Francisco’s School of Management and the founder of The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at City College of San Francisco (both in California), which was established to make entrepreneurship education inclusive and accessible to underrepresented and non-traditional student population.
My work with students at the margins inspired me to focus my research on educating adults and non-traditional learners. With this in mind, I made a big shift from my earlier academic background in business and economics, and opted to pursue a doctoral degree in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University with the hope that this will support my goal of making learning a genuinely transformative experience for students at the margins.
Dr Marina Tsoi is Korean by origin, was born in the Former Soviet Union, grew up in Kyrgyzstan, and now lives in Germany. Her mother tongue is Russian but she also speak English, German, Kyrgyz, Turkish and Bulgarian (married to a Bulgarian and has two sons). “In one word – I am multicultural,” she told us, adding that “I know it first hand, what problems communities at the margins of societies encounter.”
Dr Tsoi studied International Relations, Political Science and History in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and Eichstaett (Germany), and holds a PhD in political science from the Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt (KU). She has worked at the International University in Central Asia (IUCA) in Tokmok (Kyrgyzstan), first as lecturer and then as Head of the International Relations programme, before returning to Germany in 2010 as a lecturer at KU for Central and Eastern European contemporary history. Additionally, Dr Tsoi has been an organize of annual international summer schools within the framework of the DAAD programme Conflict Prevention in the South Caucasus / Central Asia and Moldova and online lecturer for conflict research at the IUCA. Furthermore, she has worked as a teacher at the vocational school in the classes for migrants and refugees.
“Theoretically I was well aware of the important role of education in achieving sustainable development and the need for learning and education particularly in refugee and other marginalised communities. But only having started teaching the course for students from India, Sri-Lanka, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Malawi, have I practically understood the importance of education and the necessity of the work that JWL and its partners are doing offering vocational courses.”
Dr Tsoi has been Project Coordinator at KU for the JWL Learning Facilitator professional certificate programme since May 2020, further developing programme content as Subject Matter Expert, acting as Lead Faculty, and teaching the course.
Lena Schuetzle holds a Master’s in Intercultural Education and works at the Centre for Social and Development Studies of the Munich School of Philosophy. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, she decided she needed time to figure out what her heart longed to do. A series of encounters with persons engaged in education and activism inspired her to start a formation in ‘Education for Sustainable Development.’
Interested in speaking with persons from around the world about issues of environmental protection and generational justice, Lena is now teaching the Humans and the Environment course, recently launched by JWL in partnership with the Newman Institute. Doing so is also an opportunity for her to question the ways in which her understanding and approach to tackling environmental issues may be biased. For her, teaching as a white, middle class woman from Germany bears the responsibility to reflect her own positioning. Her intention is to broaden her perspective so that persons from diverse parts of the world can benefit from the course.
Michael Fanning undertook his studies at Georgetown University (USA). After many years of working as a federal government environmental executive, he returned to Georgetown where he now teaches graduate courses in Project Management and Sports Industry Management. He first came into contact with JWL students when serving on the Admission Review Committee. Their honesty, resilience, courage, hope, eagerness to learn and sense of fairness inspired him to provide support to the JWL mission by becoming a faculty member of the Diploma programme (Bridge to Learning, Ethics and the Human Person courses). Michael has also served as a faculty member of the Youth Sports Facilitator course.
Memorable moments are bountiful, in every essay read and conversation held with students, in encouraging them on their education and life journey.
My career as a college professor has focused on the education that occurs at schools and universities. Through my work with the students and communities of JWL, I’ve reconnected with how dynamic learning is in many different settings. I have come to know our amazing students and have seen how they share their knowledge to help others learn.
The Learning Facilitator Professional Certificate course is a response to the overwhelming desire for learning and education—at all levels within the refugee camps and other places at the margins. Over 263 million children and youth are out of school, according to research by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Communities must seek new ways to facilitate learning both onsite and online. Schools and universities can meet these growing needs if they step out of a traditional mindset.
The Learning Facilitator course emerged from community assessment and efforts of JWL and Lutheran World Federation to improve teaching in the primary schools in Kakuma Refugee Camp. A graduate of the Learning Facilitator certification course could work in environments such as a classroom, learning centre, workplace, or in the community while using resource tools like smartphones, electronic tablets or computers. Using a blended learning approach, this professional certificate course will sees students interact with faculty members and students from across the globe.
Sam Rainey joined JWL in early 2019 to assist in the design, development and creation of content for the Learning Facilitator Professional Certificate course, assisting in the creation of audio, developing weekly quizzes and adding supplementary readings, among others. He holds a Business degree from Gonzaga University and a Master’s in Instructional Design from Western Governor’s University. An instructional designer, mentor, student, traveller and outdoor enthusiast, he loves learning and seeing others do the same. At present, Sam is serving as a faculty member of the Learning Facilitator course.
Learning about the hardship our students have or continue to experience in their lives, in their pursuit an education, has been the most challenging aspect of working with JWL. At the same time, their positivity and perseverance in doing everything required to get an education has been inspirational.
Dr. Ami McNally's roots in education began at the primary and secondary level in both the private and public sectors. After obtaining her doctorate in Child, Youth, Human Development and Family Studies in 2000, she moved into college instruction. She has been an Adjunct Teacher Education Professor for Regis University for the past 16 years, teaching undergraduate and graduate campus-based and online Teacher-Education courses. She joined JWL in 2016 as Lead Faculty for Academic Writing and Religions of the World.
She say of her experience: "When I first started working with JWL, I felt like God was calling me to help my fellow men whom had fallen on hard times. Little did I know how much they, in turn, would help me. These students and this program have deepened my awareness of the goings-on in war-torn countries and shown me what pushing through even the most difficult of times really looks like. Their stories touch me. Their grit inspires me. And, their dreams for themselves and their families have become my own.”
Professor Varys came to JWL with a rich background in economics. He is an Adjunct Faculty in Economics and Finance at Regis University. He also serves as an International Development Consultant for the Tearfund, "a Christian charity passionate about ending poverty". With this passion for humanity he forged a path with JWL. Today, Professor Varys is JWL’s Lead Faculty in Microeconomics.
He says of his experience: “I was able to link the Jesuit value of understanding new and different cultures with that of teaching and was wonderfully blessed to learn so much about assimilation of economics and choice within cultures. The students were wonderfully transparent and vulnerable to their experiences and JWL has done a tremendous job in moving students into the program at communication levels that can enable this interchange of ideas and concepts.”
After working clinically for fifteen years with an A.D. in Nursing and a B.A. in Biology, Dr. Whelton obtained an MSN and taught Nursing for five years. She then returned to the classroom as a student to inquire into the foundations of practice and research with human subjects. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a dissertation in philosophy of the human sciences from The Catholic University of America (1996). She lectures nationally and internationally on human life itself as a foundation for practice. Dr. Whelton currently teaches Ethics at Wheeling Jesuit University and Gonzaga University.
She says on her experience: "Teaching students enrolled in Jesuit Worldwide Learning captured my imagination as a way to bring unity to the human family. Faculty and students from all over the Globe share the common goal of learning as well as our common humanity. Through Discussion Board and Reflections, we form a truly global community, a learning community. In this setting, students from hostile countries share as friends. It is richly rewarding to read the changed perception of students and the personal healing that occurs from acceptance within the learning community. These students bring a desire to learn and a willingness to embody the guiding phrase, “Change your thinking, change the world.” "