African Eyes University Advancement
Those are the questions Alimou Diallo is posing during his professional internship in spring semester, 2003.
Diallo, whose home country is situated on Africa’s west coast, came to Ball State for a Masters degree study in the field of educational administration in Fall 2001 on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Though the official language of Guinea is French, Diallo is quite fluent in spoken American English. He was granted a leave from the University of Conakry to accept the study award.
Diallo’s public relations and instructional supervision professor, Dr. Terri L. Widmer, introduced him to university advancement through a meeting with advancement vice president Don Park “Meeting the leaders of University Advancement is one of the most important opportunities I have had at Ball State. Learning from their experience has been an occasion for me to enhance my vision of leadership. Once I return to Guinea I will initiate advancement and leadership units for my university, based on what I have been learning here. A student-leader like me should not limit himself only to what he receives in class but try to learn as much as possible from experienced people of other departments” said Diallo. Furthermore he adds “ what I have been learning from the office of university development under the supervision of T.W. Hudson Akin and his colleagues is not only useful for school purposes but also for leaders who are seeking success in any type of organization. From this internship, I have been learning how to be proactive rather than reactive. I am really impressed university advancement staff in general and Don Park, Dr Limbird and Hudson Akin in particular, who are “real living libraries”.
After his conversations with Don Park of university advancement, Dr. Randy Hyman, associate vice president for student services and dean of students in addition to the staff of the department of educational leadership, Diallo stated: “ I have understood why many people choose to come to Ball State for their studies. I urge all BSU students to take advantage of the experience and presence of such “monumental people” before they retire or move elsewhere.”
What exactly from his internship will be useful to Diallo depends on many factors. According to Martin Limbird, director of international advancement: “Alimou will certainly be among his country’s most important leaders in no more than ten years. His hand-on experience as an intern here will serve Alimou well no matter what role he is in.”