Gretchen Bauer, professor and chair of UD's Department of Political Science and International Relations, has received a Fulbright Scholar grant to work in Ghana in spring 2016.

Fulbright to Ghana

UD's Bauer wins Fulbright Scholar grant for teaching and research in Ghana


9:21 a.m., May 7, 2015--Having received a Fulbright Scholar Grant for Teaching and Research, Gretchen Bauer, professor and chair of the University of Delaware’s Department of Political Science and International Relations, will take a sabbatical leave in Ghana during spring 2016, adding another chapter to a career rooted in a passion for studying and teaching about sub-Saharan Africa. 

Bauer says she hopes to continue dispelling stereotypes and examining the challenges and successes of many African countries. 

Global Stories

Fulbright awards

Three University of Delaware students and an alumna have received word this spring that they will travel abroad as part of the newest class of Fulbright Student Program award winners.

Peace Corps plans

Two University of Delaware students, John McCarron and Bridgette Spritz, have been selected as Peace Corps volunteers and will serve in Ghana and Rwanda.

Bauer first traveled to Africa after she graduated from college, serving in the Peace Corps as a rural women’s extension agent in Oloitokitok on the Kenya-Tanzania border. There she worked with women’s organizations on income-generating projects.

Her interest in sub-Saharan Africa spurred, Bauer went on to receive her doctorate in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a specialization in African politics.

A professor at UD since 1994, Bauer has conducted research and taught in several African countries including Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania. She has led undergraduates on a study abroad program to Ghana and accompanied the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders to Malawi.

“Africa today is such a dynamic and changing place,” says Bauer. “There is so much growth and innovation taking place; it’s wonderful when our students are able to experience that firsthand and gain a much greater understanding.”

In summer 2014, Bauer directed the first-ever Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Washington Fellowship Civic Leadership Institute for 25 young African leaders at UD. She will serve again as director of the renamed Mandela Washington Fellowship summer institute when it returns to UD this summer. 

“It was a terrific group of young African leaders – we had 25 participants from 19 different countries,” says Bauer. “They are all leaders of civic and advocacy organizations in their own countries, and they came here to see how community organizations in this country work and what ideas they can take back to Africa. We learned a tremendous amount from them as well.”

Bauer, who has lived and researched in a number of sub-Saharan African countries, advocates examining Africa through a lens that appreciates the diverse places and peoples of the continent, as well as understanding what the U.S. might learn from African countries.

“I think it’s very important for our students to go and realize that many of the countries are not the places of so many of the negative images that we hold of Africa,” says Bauer. 

Bauer’s current research focuses on women’s political leadership in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular in executive branches, legislatures and judiciaries. She notes that several African countries lead the world in women’s representation in national legislatures.

“Rwanda is the world leader, with about 65 percent women in its Chamber of Deputies, and there are many others with percentages around 30 or 40 percent,” says Bauer. “I compare that to the U.S. where only 20 percent of members of Congress are women, whether it’s the House or the Senate.”

Through her research, Bauer examines the methods several African countries have used to achieve a high percentage of women in their national legislatures. 

“Most of the countries that have these high percentages have accomplished this by using some kind of electoral gender quota. Most of the countries have adopted these gender quotas in the wake of a political transition, often post-conflict,” says Bauer.

While a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana in spring 2016, Bauer will be based at the University of Ghana Legon in Accra. She will be a visiting researcher at the Center for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA), and a visiting professor at the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), teaching master’s degree students.

At UD Bauer teaches classes in African Politics, African Politics and Literature, Women in African Politics and more. 

In September, Bauer will become faculty director of the UD Africa Initiative, a University-wide initiative promoting collaborative research, teaching and service between UD and institutions across the continent. In this role, she will have the opportunity to put her expertise to use in shaping UD student, faculty and community involvement with Africa.  

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