Edwin Kay

Ed Kay in CameroonFor years, Dr. Ed Kay has been a leader in educating the next generation of computer scientists, and what’s more, he’s done so on two continents. Here at Lehigh, Dr. Kay is the associate chair of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), as well as the co-chair of the Computer Science & Business (CSB) program, which he helped create in 1999. Meanwhile, he traveled to the continent of Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and Rotary Scholar, where he has also shared his expertise in the technologies of the modern world. As of this fall, Dr. Kay will add the new title of Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Ashesi University College in Ghana to his already impressive career.

Over the course of the 2010-2011 school year, Dr. Kay will teach courses in computer science and mathematics, and will at the same time help to develop the University’s curriculum in these areas. Ashesi, which only began classroom instruction in 2002 and enrolls just over 450 students, is still in its infancy as a university, and this situation provides Dr. Kay with a unique opportunity to design courses and create materials that may become core components of Ashesi’s computer science curriculum in the years ahead.

Dr. Kay’s background makes him well-suited in several ways for the task that lies before him. From an academic point of view, he designed the curriculum for the CSB program at Lehigh and so has a firm understanding of how to construct a coherent academic program. He also has experience in teaching in African higher education, having been a mathematics professor at the University of Buea in the Anglophone section of Cameroon as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1995-1997. Personally, a former student of his at Lehigh, Kwado Osafo Maafo, is a computer science faculty member at Ashesi, and should be a welcome source of advice and information as Dr. Kay adapts to the Ghanaian education system.

For Dr. Kay, Africa is attractive because it allows him the opportunity to learn a new culture with a simpler lifestyle, and in the process reflect on the assumptions of his own American background. Especially, he looks forward to discovering how much of the life and customs he learned in Cameroon carry over into Ghanaian society. He furthermore hopes to become a liaison for Ashesi students or faculty that may want to come to Lehigh, and thereby open up a line of communication and exchange between the two universities, similar to the exchange he has already made possible between Lehigh and the University of Buea. In all these ways, he feels he can make a solid contribution to Lehigh’s ongoing efforts towards internationalization, as well as increase his own international perspective as a professor. The Fulbright Program, he adds, offered the optimal means of making each of these goals possible.