Sharing Experiences from the MSU Visiting Scholar Program of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project


September 25, 2019 - Balaraba Sule

Highlights 54, Balaraba Sule, Sharing Experiences from the MSU Visiting Scholar Program of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, September 2019.

After spending the spring 2019 semester at Michigan State University (MSU), I wanted to share my experiences with my colleagues and students at Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) University, Lapai of Niger State, Nigeria. On August 7, 2019, I had my first chance to do just that. A seminar was organized in which I shared with the faculty, staff and students of IBB University, my experiences as a visiting scholar of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project (NAPP) at Michigan State University. At the end of the seminar, a short break was observed, after which I delivered a step down presentation for students and interested staff. The step down was centered on questionnaire design which is a section of the course; Empirical Methods in Field Research in Developing Countries that I took at MSU.

During the seminar, one of several ideas that caught the imagination and interest of both staff and students is the brown bag seminar. Students were enthusiastic with the idea of having an opportunity to informally present their work right from the concept stage up to final outputs, for constructive criticism without fear of ramifications. Since the department has a very small number of graduate students, I pointed out how such seminars could be run jointly with the Economics Department considering the similarities in research approaches and methodologies that the two departments employ. The Dean, Faculty of Agriculture promised to discuss with the Head of Economics Department on the need to have joint seminar sessions and presentations.

For the step down, questionnaire design was purposively selected bearing in mind the fact that most of the students were through with their proposals and getting ready to go to the field.

At the end of the presentation, both staff and students were interested in me sharing the course material with them. I did this by uploading all files to my google drive and sharing the link with them. There were was general excitement about such a resourceful capacity building program and lots of questions on how I got to participate in it. However, the excitement turned to mass disappointment after the audience learnt that the program might be in its last lap.


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