International Studies & Programs


The Michigan State University African Studies Center has 170 faculty with experience on Africa, probably the largest in the nation, including the largest faculties in social science (40) and in economics and agricultural economics (16). The Center features many other scholars in African languages, the arts and humanities, education, agricultural and natural sciences, health and medicine and other fields. The faculty members are listed alphabetically by college and departmental affiliation, noting geographical areas of Africa experience, and teaching and research interests.


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Joseph Messina Department: Act. Dir. Global Chg & Earth Obs
Countries/Research: Kenya; Tanzania; Malawi
Email: jpm(at)

John Metzler Department: African Studies Ctr
Countries/Research: Zambia; Zimbabwe
Email: metzler(at)

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Biography: John Metzler has directed outreach programming for the African Studies Center since 1987. In this capacity he has worked with K-16 educators in Michigan, throughout the Midwest, and nationally on effectively integrating African humanities and social sciences into their curricula. Issues of peace, justice, human rights, and socio-economic development are central in these endeavors. John holds an adjunct position in the MSU Department of Teacher Education. In this capacity he has worked closely with the under-graduate pre-service global cohort program that seeks to engage students the integration of global themes across the teaching curriculum. Since 1993 John as co-led or led a six-credit summer study abroad program in Southern Africa Education, Society and Learning in Southern Africa. This program intentionally addresses issues of peace, justice, and human rights through its curriculum and by engaging students in service-learning projects. John has worked in Southern and Eastern Africa since 1972 and earned his doctorate in Educational Policy Studies and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Julia R Miller Department: Human Ecology
Email: jrmiller(at)

Robert Montgomery Department: Fisheries & Wildlife
Email: montg164(at)

Carol Myers-Scotton Department: Linguistics & Languages
Countries/Research: Tanzania; Uganda; Nigeria; Kenya; Malawi; Zimbabwe; South Africa
Email: myerssc3(at)

Flora Nankhuni Department: Ag, Food and Resource Economics
Email: nankhuni(at)

Deo Ngonyani Department: Linguistics & Languages
Countries/Research: Tanzania
Email: ngonyani(at)

Folu Ogundimu Department: Journalism
Email: ogundimu(at)

Jennifer Olson Department: Department Of Media And Information
Countries/Research: Burkina Faso; Republic od the Congo; Central African Republic; Kenya; Uganda; Tanzania; Rwanda; Zambia
Email: olsonjj(at)

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Biography: Jennifer Olson is interested in the interaction between changes in the environment and society. Understanding the causes of environmental trends and how they affect society leads to important policy implications from the national to the international level, and she regularly works with policy makers, United Nations officials and others to develop effective methods of communicating science results. Research topics that she has focused on include the socioeconomic causes of land degradation, the effects of environmental change on human health, the interaction between land use and climate change, and the impacts of land use change on biodiversity. Jennifer has over fifteen years of living and working experience in Africa, including research in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda funded by NSF, UNEP, GEF, CIESIN/NASA, USAID and others, and as a Peace Corps and a U.N. volunteer in rural Burkina Faso, Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic. She conducted her Masters and PhD research in Rwanda. She is the currently the leader of the land use change component and manager of a NSF project, "An Integrated Analysis of Regional Land-Climate Interactions in East Africa", and will play a similar leadership role in a new NSF project, "Dynamic Interactions among People, Livestock, and Savanna Ecosystems under Climate Change." In addition, she leads a team of medical, natural and social scientists in a health-environment initiative, Impacts of climate and land use change on emerging human and livestock diseases in East Africa.

Amber Pearson Department: Geography
Email: apearson(at)