Willimantic, Conn. - Distinguished Professor of African Literature and Storytelling at Eastern Connecticut State University Raouf Mama has been invited to join Faculty Row's network of Super Professors. Faculty Row is a private network originally developed for educators and researchers to connect, collaborate and share ideas nationally. It is now the leading network of experts for more than 100,000 academics globally.
Faculty Row has Fulbright Scholars, TED Speakers and countless accomplished academics. These include invited international scholars and faculty from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford universities.
Super Professors are a peer-reviewed group of expert academics that consistently demonstrate excellence, passion and clarity. Super Professors are recognized by traditional academic institutions as well as emerging technology entities looking to change the landscape of academia. Many individuals have begun acknowledging Super Professors as independent thought leaders.
"Faculty Row is pleased to welcome Professor Raouf Mama to this elite group of accomplished academics," said Amy Hunter, director of the Faculty Row Network.
Besides being recognized as one of Faculty Row's Super Professors, Mama is the recipient of two Connecticut State University Excellence Awards, two Greater Hartford Arts Council Individual Artist Awards and two artist fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, which has also awarded him the title of Master Teaching Artist. In December 2004 Mama was awarded a Distinguished Immigrant Award. In January 2005, the office of the English Language Program in the U.S. State Department awarded him the title of Senior U.S. English Language Specialist.
A graduate of the University of Michigan with an M.A. and Ph.D in English and Education, Mama is fluent in English, French, Fon and Yoruba, and proficient in Spanish and German.
Mama performs African and multicultural stories, blending storytelling with poetry, song, music and dance. An orator from the African oral tradition, he has been a keynote speaker at literary award ceremonies and fundraisers as well as a plenary speaker at international and regional conferences in the United States, Benin, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Venezuela. He also lectures on African literature and African folklore and conducts workshops on storytelling and creative writing. He is an expert on the power of folktales as multicultural teaching and learning tools, especially as tools for teaching literacy skills, creative writing and public speaking.
Mama regularly travels to Benin to work with English teachers, Peace Corps Volunteers, education professionals and children, using storytelling as a multicultural teaching and motivational tool. Participants' evaluations and comments often point to Mama deepening their appreciation of the power and magic of storytelling.
Over the past 10 years, Mama has worked in partnership with UNICEF and the School of African Heritage in promoting education and cultural awareness through storytelling. In 2005 and 2006 he travelled to Benin as a Senior U.S. English Language Specialist and provided training for English teachers in all 12 provinces. In December 2008, he participated in the first International Festival of Storytelling and the Spoken Word in Benin.