Photo Feature: College of Education faculty visit University of Seychelles

Two College of Education (COE) professors recently visited Seychelles to connect with the educational leaders and officials and learn more about the practices and obstacles of the local schools. Seychelles, one of the smallest nations on Earth, is an African country in the western side of the Indian Ocean and resides a significant distance from the African mainland by about 1,500 miles.

Robert Mitchell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator, and Kylie Swanson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Elementary Education Program Coordinator, spent a week visiting the University of Seychelles and multiple area schools, interacting with students and education officials and gaining insight to the local school systems and the issues they face. They also were able to spend some time enjoying the nation’s natural beauty and meet some of its other local residents – giant tortoises, in one of the few areas they live on Earth.

“During the visit, we visited numerous schools, met with government official and educational leaders in the Seychelles, and even managed to see a few of the amazing sunsets over the Indian Ocean,” said Mitchell. “We quickly came to realize that the social and family networks throughout the Seychelles are much more developed than in the U.S. and these connections are the lifeblood of the entire nation.”

“We also presented for the University of the Seychelles education students on the American education system, UCCS’s Inclusive Elementary Program, and the educational research we are doing,” noted Swanson. “Just to add, as a science nerd, I was constantly in awe of the beautiful granitic boulders that the islands are made of. Since the islands came about due to continental drift, they were not formed volcanically. This makes them the only remote oceanic islands in the world that originated from a single continental mass.”

The trip is part of a overarching effort from the U.S. State Department to foster a deeper connection with the educational system in Seychelles and find new ways to link to the U.S.

“Working with the K-12 students and the emerging teachers at the University of the Seychelles was a true highlight,” Mitchell said. “Taking the time to understand how issues like teacher shortages and a lack of joy in many schools (especially secondary schools) are very much the same in the U.S. and the Seychelles. Finding solutions to these challenges will be difficult – but it is great to know that we have colleagues that are trying to solve these problems as well.”

“I love traveling and experiencing new places and cultures, so the entire trip was wonderful,” added Swanson. “I really appreciated how immersed in the Seychellois Educational system we were. Observing in the public school classrooms and meeting with the teachers was definitely a highlight. It was also fascinating to hear the locals switch between English, French, and Seychellois Creole effortlessly as they are trilingual.”

Mitchell and Swanson will have the opportunity next month to connect with some of the teachers again and return the hospitality, with a handful of the Seychellois educational leaders visiting UCCS. The visitors will visit K-12 schools in the area, explore American education systems and guest lecture for several COE classes.

“We are excited to be able to host faculty from the University of the Seychelles,” said Mitchell. “Let’s just hope for good weather, as snow is a very foreign concept to most Seychelles residents.”

About the UCCS College of Education

The College of Education offers undergraduate and advanced degrees, initial and advanced licenses and additional endorsements across three departments: Teaching and Learning, Counseling and Human Services and Leadership, Research, and Foundations. The college is home to more than 1,000 students and offers 12 bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees. The UCCS College of Education is authorized by the state of Colorado to offer educator preparation and school counseling programs. Our graduate-level counseling programs in school counseling and clinical mental health are accredited by CACREP – the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs. Our undergraduate Human Services program is accredited by the CSHSE – Council for Standards in Human Service Education. To learn more, please reach out to [email protected].