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Accredited Leadership Program

Accredited Leadership Program

How do I transfer my credits back to the US?

To ensure that you receive full credit for the courses taken at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, we advise that you work closely with your home institution’s administration and advisement to determine your home institutions courses (i.e. course titles, numbers and descriptions) and how the Transcending Borders courses will be transferred, as electives or general requirements for your program and/or major. Once your home institution’s administration has validated and verified in writing that your credits will be transferred to your degree program, complete the application process.

To assist in this process, we provide course summaries and faculty bios (PDF) for each course. In short, the courses offered in our leadership program exceed the US accrediting agencies’ standards of 15, 50-minute contact hours per credit. Our contact hours are based strictly on class time and do not include long distance or inter-site travel time, tours outside the focus of a specific course, meals, recreational activities, receptions or local travel. For example, each three-credit course requires 45 contact hours per semester, however, each of our three credit courses meets four hours a week, for 12 weeks, totaling 48 contact hours per every three-credit course. If your school requires additional information or have further questions, please have them contact Dr. LeAnne Campbell, ld69@duke.edu.

What classes will I take?

The Transcending Borders Student Leadership Program consists of the following four courses. All of these courses incorporates community dialogues and/or community projects in partnership with local schools and organizations:

Education 220 At Empire’s End: Curriculum, Community and Change
This course will analyze the role of schooling, specifically the political, historical, economic and socio-cultural roles of schools – how it relates to knowledge production and re-production, the power embedded within these processes and it’s immediate and long-term impact on community (locally and internationally). Students will have the opportunity to apply what they are learning by partnering with local schools and organizations.

Sociology 330 Diversity in Action: Identity, Agency and Power
This course will utilize a diverse range of narratives to explore the socio-cultural constructs of identity development, agency and power. To fully understand the power embedded within these narratives, students will explore their own narratives as it relates to community and service.

Art 150 Building Community through Public Art
In this course students will develop an understanding and ability to utilize public space and cultural productions to build vibrant, inclusive communities. Through collaboration with one of the largest artistic collectives in the Caribbean, MARHMI, students will produce a community exhibition in partnership with local schools and community organizations.

Spanish (100-500) Citizenship, Family and Community
Students will register for the class that best fits their need. Intro, Intermediate and Advanced Spanish courses will be offered. These courses are designed to further equip students with the necessary language skills in Spanish to express themselves well in writing and verbally. It aims at helping students feel more confident to speak, develop a higher level of understanding of the spoken and written language, and learn more advanced vocabulary and cultural and literary contents. The class discussions, readings, and writing components will focus on Citizenship, Family and Community which emphasize different aspects of the country’s culture, history, economy and politics.

Who can participate?

Students who are at least 18 years old prior to the start of the program with an overall college or university GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 system are eligible to apply. It is preferred that you have previously completed one semester of university coursework prior to your term abroad. Students who do not meet the stated eligibility requirements may apply, but must include 2 letters of recommendation from teachers with whom they have studied in the past academic year.

Students can utilize courses to fulfill some of their general requirements and/or electives within their degree programs, while also personalizing their education with certified and cutting-edge leadership training. This feature suggests that any college student interested in developing and enhancing their capacities for leadership should become a participant.

Students from backgrounds in Art, City/Regional Planning, Communications, Cultural Studies, Education, English, International Relations/Studies, Romance Languages, and most Social Sciences have been attracted to our semester program for three (3) distinct reasons: 1) The cross-disciplinary courses present a more vested and natural pull because one or more of the courses could be directly applied to the student’s major; 2) The combination of courses, study-abroad, service learning, and leadership training increases the potential for a more relevant, hands-on, and meaningful approach to learning which appealed to them; and 3) Transcending Borders‘ focus on community, imperialism’s impact on leadership, and learning course content within the context of the “unfamiliar other” offers an insightful, unique perspective on how to lead in any setting.

Why the Dominican Republic?

The potential for Transcending Borders to prepare border-crossing leaders in- and for- a diverse society becomes more apparent with our choice of location. The Dominican Republic represents “ground-zero” for “discovery”, genocide, slavery, racial-mixing, religion, revolt, and the exploitation of the “new world”. Learning and applying leadership on a daily basis for fourteen weeks where imperialism has its origins offers students the chance to translate actions, decisions, and decision-making processes that are grounded in – and conditioned by – imperialism into the nuanced insight and increased sensitivity that cannot be surpassed or duplicated elsewhere.

From the DR’s special and rich history, the Dominican population in the aggregate has developed a democratic – yet, dictatorial and corrupt – political structure, a sustaining – yet, vulnerable and exploitive – economy, a diverse – yet, exclusive and bigoted – society, and warm – yet, superstitious and dogmatic – religious and cultural traditions. On the village/community level however, the Dominican people have found ways to live productively and creatively with these developments and respond to their contradictions while expressing unique character, agency, hospitality, compassion, ingenuity, and courage. These ways of life and responses to life’s contradictions are not readily seen in the United States or any other study-abroad setting. Transcending Borders utilizes the DR’s “unfamiliar culture” as the backdrop and training ground to forge and temper leaders whose decisions and actions focus on the power, productivity and innovation that only a diverse and inclusive community can bring.

Why the University of Santo Domingo?

The decision to partner with the University of Santo Domingo facilitates, enriches, and maximizes the Transcending Borders accredited leadership program. First, the University of Santo Domingo has received world-wide acclaim for being the most respected and utilized university of the Dominican Republic. Its reputation fosters instant recognition for home institutions’ administrations and facilitates approval for transferring credits back to the states, while the university’s endorsement of Transcending Borders courses assures potential participants and their support systems that they will be receiving a high quality education during their time in the Dominican Republic.

Next, the University of Santo Domingo was founded in 1538 and claims to be the oldest university in the Americas. Over its many years of service to the DR community, the university has become a vital part of its communal and cultural fabric – educating approximately 140,000 citizens each semester. Both its rich history and community vitality suggests no better vehicle for the enrichment of Transcending Borders participants’ integration and acculturation into the DR.

What are the language requirements?

There are no language requirements for this program. As seen from the academic program, the first two classes (EDU 220) and (SOC 320) are taught in English. The third class, depending on the student’s level of Spanish, will be taught in Spanish. The fourth class will be taught in Spanish and English, with English speaking translators for those who need it. For students who are fluent in Spanish, your Spanish speaking skills will be called upon to assist with group community projects, since the majority of the communities we work with speak only Spanish.

At the same time, we would like to make clear, that the host families and communities where we are located do not speak English. Thus students, outside of class time will be fully immersed in a Spanish speaking setting, which as we know, is the best and quickest way to learn a language. Therefore, if one of your goals is to learn Spanish, you will have ample opportunity to become fluent in Spanish. And for those who are already fluent in Spanish, you will have ample opportunity to utilize and to further develop your language skills by assisting in the different community projects, by providing written and oral assistance for our family literacy, curriculum development, environmental justice and social histories through art projects.

Where are the classes located?

Classes are held in two separate locations. The first two classes (EDU 220) and (SOC 330) are taught at our Education Center in the mountains, SOMOS, located at a central location near community projects and host families. The center, also known as “donde el cielo y la tierra se unen” (where the sky and the earth join) provides a beautiful and inspirational setting for instruction, study and quite time. Included in the center is a large classroom, wi-fi access, a resource library, computer for skyping, printers, study space in the afternoons and on weekends, a kitchen and full bathroom. During the semester program the Transcending Borders Country Director resides in an apartment adjacent to the center.

Spanish classes are taught at the Universidad Autónoma in San Francisco de Macoris, around 20-25 minutes away. The university provides discounted transportation ($.50) one-way for students. ART 150 will be taught both at Universidad Autónoma in San Francisco de Macoris and SOMOS, depending on the class.

What is the class schedule?

Classes will be held Monday through Thursday with one 3 hour 45 minute class held each day. Some classes will be held in the afternoons and some in the mornings. A class schedule will be sent to each student shortly before departing to the Dominican Republic. Upon arriving to the Dominican Republic, students will have the opportunity to sign up for community projects. On Friday through Sunday, there will not be class, allowing students to travel on weekends, to visit local beaches or to spend time with host families and in the village, learning the art of dominoes and/or how to dance merengue and bachata. Occasionally students will be expected to participate on community projects, scheduled on Saturday or Sunday.

Will I have an opportunity to travel in the DR?

Yes, classes will be held Monday through Thursday. Generally, students will have Friday through Sunday available for travel. Popular areas to visit are:

Samaná: The Samaná Peninsula may just be the Dominican Republic’s best-kept secret. Samaná offers everything you need to feel a part of nature at its wildest. Santa Bárbara de Samaná is its major city with about 51,000 inhabitants. Almost all of the province’s economy revolves around the beach destinations of Las Terrenas, Las Galeras, Portillo, Cosón, Playa Rincón and Playa Bonita, although the Salto El Limón waterfall also deserves a visit. Most hotels in Samaná are privately owned, and aren’t as large as the all-inclusive resorts found on other parts of the island.

Samaná is an incredibly diverse peninsula. Measuring 540 square miles, it is even larger than most Caribbean islands. It has a unique environment, with green palm tree lined hills creating a stark contrast up against unspoiled white beaches. There is much to discover in this natural paradise, including the world’s largest coconut plantation.
Samaná is an ecological paradise. Here, you can go to Los Haitises national park to see mangrove swamps, islets, and caves with cave art. Other highlights include Salto El Limón [waterfall], Cayo Levantado [islet] and humpback whale-watching from the middle of January until mid-March.

Jarabacoa: Situatied in the mountains of the Central Cordillera, Jarabacoa is a great place for long hikes through beautiful pine trees. Although it can drop to 45 F (7 C) in winter, Jarabacoa nearly always has a pleasant temperature from 60 to 75 degrees F (16-22 C). Locals call this steady climate the “city of eternal spring,” which is perfect for growing strawberries and flowers. Three rivers flow nearby, Baiguate, Jimenoa and the Yaque del Norte. These are particularly popular because of their level-two rapids.
Jarabacoa is the main gateway to the mountains of the Central Cordillera: Pico Duarte, La Pelona and La Rusilla. They are so tall, that they are known as the Dominican Alps. The fastest route brings you two miles

Santo Domingo: With over three million residents, the cosmopolitan city of Santo Domingo is possibly the most vibrant place in the entire Caribbean. Santo Domingo features a rich culture and history juxtaposed against modern developments. In the historic Colonial City, newer hotels are located on ancient cobble-stoned streets; luxury cars share the roads with horse-drawn carriages; an avant-garde international cuisine scene thrives amid classic Creole cuisine; and 21st century buildings rest beside 15th and 16th century traditional houses.

As the oldest city in the New World, Santo Domingo’s Colonial City boasts the first street, cathedral, university and hospital in the Americas. In fact, visitors usually notice that the well-preserved ancient city, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990, makes them feel as if they had been transported back to another time.

Advising and Support

Throughout the semester, while the students are enrolled in the Transcending Borders Student Program, the Country Director will reside in an apartment adjacent to SOMOS. In addition to teaching classes, she will be available to meet with students on the weekends and evenings.

Additional in-country staff will be available to meet with students at any time during the program. Upon arriving to the DR, students will be given the in-country staff phone numbers so that, if at any time, they can contact local staff. Their host families will also have these numbers.