Curriculum Advisors

Curriculum Advisors

The Thinking Beyond Borders curriculum for all of its gap year programs has been developed and refined with the support of a highly qualified group of advisors. With broad ranging expertise, these individuals have brought insight with regard to curricular content, delivery, and assessment. Their work in collaboration with the Thinking Beyond Borders staff ensures that each student has a powerful learning experience during the course of the program.


Eleanor R. Duckworth

Gap Year Programs Curriculum Advisor Eleanor DuckworthEleanor Duckworth is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the author of several books including The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning and “Tell Me More”: Listening to Learners Explain. A former student and translator of Jean Piaget, she grounds her work in Piaget and Inhelder’s insights into the nature and development of understanding and in their research method, which she has developed as a teaching/research approach, Critical Exploration in the Classroom. She seeks to bring a Freirean approach to any classroom, valuing the learners’ experience and insights. Her interest is in the experiences of teaching and learning of people of all ages, both in and out of schools. Duckworth is a former elementary school teacher and has worked in curriculum development, teacher education, and program evaluation in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and her native Canada. She is a coordinator for Cambridge United for Justice with Peace, and is a performing modern dancer.


Amanda Frost

Gap Year Programs Curriculum Advisor Amanda FrostOnce Mandy Frost’s children were raised, which she realizes now is never a completed job, she needed to make full use of the dynamic changes happening in South Africa after years of feeling powerless. Her experience in various bookkeeping and labour management jobs gave her the admin skills needed to develop an NGO. Her passion for human rights and human development, defined by the Montessori education method, gave her the faith and sensitivity needed to work in a highly politicised milieu.

Mandy was appointed, in 2003, as coordinator of what was intended to be a planning body monitoring local HIV & AIDS projects and identifying needs. Three months of local networking revealed that there were no projects to monitor, but the needs were clear. She got clearance from the NGO governing body and started initiating and implementing projects that were in line with the national strategic plan for HIV in South Africa. Two of their biggest projects, Bitou Community Home-based Care/Hospice and Invicta House Womens’ Shelter, are firmly established and integrated with other services. The Plettaid Foundation employs 35 people, has achieved membership of Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA and has a dream to build and run a grassroots hospice to support home-based care.


Sam Mitchell

Gap Year Programs Curriculum Advisor Sam MitchellSam Mitchell passed away in the Fall of 2011. His belief in, contributions to, and support of TBB were fundamental to the formation of our programs. He was truly a friend. In celebration of his life and work, Thinking Beyond Borders created the Sam Mitchell Scholarship, awarded to a deserving TBB student each year.

Sam Mitchell received his PhD in Asian History at the University of Hawaii, where he was an East-West Center fellow. While undertaking language training in Hindi, Urdu, and Nepali, he lived in Pakistan for one year, Nepal for three and India for four. Sam lived in Yunnan Province, China for 16 years. Dr. Mitchell served as Academic Director of the School for International Training Nepal program from 1990-93 and was a visiting assistant professor of East Asian History at Western Washington University during the 2001-2002 academic year. He helped to curate an exhibition of his photographs, as well as clothing, cultural artifacts, and music from the ethnic minority groups of Northwest Yunnan entitled, “Yunnan: Enchanting Region of Ethnic Diversity” on display at the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii during February and March of 2004. Sam and his wife, Lu Yuan, created and initiated the Chinese Culture and Ethnic Minorities Program for what is now SIT Study Abroad, based in Brattleboro Vermont, in 1994. They resided in Kunming ever since.

Under the auspices of the Center for Cultural Learning and Development Sam facilitated cultural and Traditional Chinese Medicine programs for various universities, colleges from throughout the United States, including the gap year program, Thinking Beyond Borders. He was an avid hiker, snorkeler and photographer.


Joshua Muldavin

Gap Year Programs Curriculum Advisor Joshua MuldavinDr. Joshua Muldavin has a long and distinguished record as a researcher and teacher concerning his interests in globalization, China, Japan, and Asia, policy analysis, rural development, international aid, agriculture and food, climate change, political economy, and political ecology. He has completed thirty years of field research, primarily in rural China, as well as in Japan, Nepal, India, Russia, Hungary, northern Europe, Cuba, and Mexico.

He was Chair and Director of International Development Studies at UCLA from 1994-2001. He was a Resident Research Fellow with the East West Center‘s Program on Environment in 2003, Visiting Scientist at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Research and Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu from 2006-2008, Visiting Professor at China Agricultural University from 2007-2008, Visiting Scholar at Sophia University in Tokyo 2006-2010, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the China Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, as well as the Executive Director of the Action 2030 Institute, a small policy think tank.

While at UCLA he won the Distinguished Teaching Award, and was also given the Eby Award as the best teacher of the year. He is a frequent contributor to international news reporting on China and Asia, including for the BBC, International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. At the annual meetings of the AAG in Washington, D.C., he was given the Award for Media Achievement of the Association of American Geographers for 2010 for his long-term efforts to bridge the gap between academic research and public awareness on key contemporary global issues. He is currently Professor of Geography at Sarah Lawrence College.


Manda Parikh

Gap Year Programs Curriculum Advisor Manda ParikhDr. Manda Parikh earned a Masters in Economics at Gujarat University and a Ph.D. in Economics at M.S. University, Baroda. Her career pursuits reflect her deep commitment to the people and communities in and around the city of Ahmedabad, India. Currently, Dr. Parikh is the Director of the Rural Development and Management Institute at Ahmedabad, specializing in rural area research, training, and extension; the Director of Pranava Industrial Services Pvt. Ltd., a professional consultancy firm specializing in market, financial, and pre-investment studies with international operations; and the Director of International Programs for the Indian Association of Experiment in International Living. Additionally, she serves as a Trustee of the Indian Society For Population Education, the Indian Society for Community Education, Yuvak Vikas Trust, and Green Serve India Ltd. Through these diverse professional opportunities, Dr. Parikh works to empower urban and rural communities with education, sound and just economic practice, and conscious engagement. She draws inspiration from the work and writing of Mohandas K. Gandhi and his vision of a diverse, peaceful, and sustainable India.


Sherman Teichman

Gap Year Programs Curriculum Advisor Sherman TiechmanSherman Teichman is the inaugural Executive Director of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. The programs under his direction include Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC), a rigorous interdisciplinary program for analysis of global issues and active citizenship; the Tufts Initiative for Leadership and International Perspective centered in Hong Kong and Beijing; [EXPOSURE], a photojournalism, documentary studies and human rights initiative and a range of global immersive education student initiated research projects.

A lecturer in the arts and social sciences at Tufts since 1984, Mr. Teichman was a former fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Politics, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a faculty member at Boston University and Emerson College.

As a journalist, he was a Peabody Award-winning foreign policy analyst for National Public Radio, WBUR, in Boston and a social science editor of the Boston Review. An adviser on counterterrorism and long-range strategic planning for the Israeli government, Mr. Teichman was also active with Amnesty International in the former Soviet Union and Central America.

He was educated at the United States Naval Academy, The Johns Hopkins University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Chicago’s Committees on International Relations and Social Thought.

An Olympic saber fencer, Mr. Teichman is currently the Tufts University saber fencing coach. He previously coached fencing at Boston University, the University of Chicago and Harvard University.

TBB is fortunate to work with Mr. Teichman and the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. With similar core values and program goals, it is an organizational relationship with great potential for future developments.

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