Topics: Faculty, Teachers College

August 26, 2020

Ball State’s Dr. Michael T. Ndemanu was born and raised in Cameroon and will return in January to help strengthen the teacher education program at a university there.

Michael Ndemanu, associate professor of multicultural education

Michael Ndemanu, associate professor of multicultural education

The seven-month project is possible because Ndemanu, an associate professor of multicultural education in the Department of Educational Studies, earned a prestigious Fulbright Award from the U.S. Department of State.

“I have a strong belief that long-term solutions to many of our societal problems are found in education,” Ndemanu said. “Quality of life for human beings worldwide tends to be shaƒped by the quality of education they received right from their childhood.”

Ndemanu will set up a Center for Teaching Excellence at the public University of Ngaoundéré, founded in 1993. The university’s teacher education program is only two years old.

The goal is to better prepare the country’s K-12 teachers to deliver a quality education to Cameroon’s youth. But Ndemanu will also be conducting professional development with faculty to improve instructional practice throughout the university.

Ndemanu said the current way of teaching in Cameroon is too teacher-centered. He plans on promoting high-impact instructional practices such as collaborative projects, undergraduate research, community-based learning, and a host of instructional strategies that are undergirded by theories of learner-centered pedagogy.

“Right now, students are taught to the test. But as they move on most of the learning is forgotten because they were not taught how to apply it. Education must prepare students for problem-solving, critical thinking, innovative, and creative skills. Imagine the potentials for sociopolitical and economic stability of countries whose citizens have acquired such transformative skills in schools.” 

Ndemanu earned his bachelors in Bilingual Studies at University of Yaoundé in Cameroon alongside an undergraduate teaching license in French and English at University of Bamenda. He taught in secondary schools in Cameroon for eight years before immigrating to the United States in 2006 for graduate studies. He earned a master’s degree from Langston University in Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Indiana University.

His academic research has focused on transformative education, multicultural education, international education, African American Vernacular English, social justice, peace education and more. 

Ndemanu is also executive director of the Global Institute for Transformative Education, a non-profit that improves instruction designs and curriculum development in developing countries.

“Dr. Ndemanu’s Fulbright project is another example of the amazing work our faculty do around the world,” Teachers College Dean Anand R. Marri said. “Dr. Ndemanu teaches from the heart, and I have no doubt his home country will benefit tremendously from his professional experience and his passion.”

The project won’t benefit only Cameroon. At Ball State, it will create a new inter-university partnership, with opportunities for academic collaboration and research with scholars in Cameroon.

Fulbright Programs are an initiative within the U.S. Department of State to foster international goodwill and the exchange of ideas in education, culture, and science between the United States and more than 160 other countries.