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

Robert Montgomery Department: Fisheries & Wildlife
Email: montg164(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: Media and Information
Countries/Research: Burkina Faso; Republic of 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.

Jane Payumo Department: Center for Global Connections
Email: payumoja(at)

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Biography: Dr. Jane Payumo is the Global Research Evaluation Manager of the Center for Global Connections (CGC). She works closely with the CGC Director to formulate and implement the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and global research evaluation goals for CGC and AgBioResearch. She develops appropriate metrics and tools for evaluation, collect statistical data, and conduct research and evaluation studies. She also liaises with CANR and other units in the university to build comprehensive M&E system and deploy research intelligence techniques to assist in the planning, monitoring and impact assessment of CGC and AgBioResearch activities. Dr. Payumo’s academic and policy-related publications ( focus on scientometrics, innovation management, technology transfer and intellectual property management (IP) of knowledge products in agriculture. Her interests include: internationalization of science, data-driven analytics and research evaluation, IP management for development countries, econometric studies on international development, and metrics design and development. Prior to joining MSU, she worked at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, Washington State University, and Philippine Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. She also has adjunct faculty appointment with Washington State University and a core faculty of MSU’s Center for Gender in Global Context and MSU’s Africa Studies Center. She received her Doctor of Philosophy at Washington State University, Pullman, WA; and undergraduate and Master’s degrees in the Philippines both with distinction and honors.

Amber Pearson Department: Geography
Email: apearson(at)

Douglas Postels Department: Neurology & Ophthalmology Com
Countries/Research: Malawi; Uganda; Ghana
Email: douglas.postel(at)

Robert Richardson Department: Community Sustainability
Countries/Research: Zambia; Côte d’Ivoire; Mali; Kenya; Tanzania; Malawi

Email: rbr(at)