Maybe you heard about Congressman Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) recent trip to China and his outrage at seeing Peace Corps volunteers teaching at universities (he called the Peace Corps China program an “an insult to the taxpayers of the United States“).

This got me thinking, seeing as I’m also a volunteer assigned to a university (in the Philippines). I think Coffman’s outrage may have been due, in part, to a mythologized vision of what Peace Corps should be. When most people think Peace Corps, they think volunteers working in remote rural areas in developing countries, no electricity, no running water, etc.

But nothing in the Peace Corps vision includes this, um, vision. Instead, Peace Corps is about helping “interested countries and areas meet their goals for trained men and women.”

In my opinion, the best way to do this, in the 21st century, is at the tertiary level. Based on anecdote, it seems that my fellow volunteers working at universities are more productive and feel they make a greater impact than their elementary or secondary volunteer peers. Here’s a video of a recent faculty workshop at the university where I teach. The topics we covered are listed below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5yL_z7vmrw

August 26th: Effective Syllabus Design
Americanisms, Filipinisms, and International English
Syllabus Statement of Objectives & Activities
Review of Proper Noun & Verb Formation

September 9th: Designing Effective Assessments
Higher Order Thinking Skills
Table of Specifications: A Review
Multiple Choice Exam Design
Practical Exams: Testing HOTS
The Art of Questioning & Leading Good Discussions

September 16th: Effective Rubrics & Evaluation
Analytic, Holistic, Qualitative, Quantitative, and Weighted Rubrics
Student-Friendly Rubrics
Review of Technical Terminology Used in Various Disciplines