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Law school faculty member selected for prestigious Carnegie fellowship

Anthony Ikwueme, director of the Ehrhorn Law Library at Liberty University School of Law.Anthony Ikwueme, director of the Ehrhorn Law Library at Liberty University School of Law, has been awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to work with the University of Nigeria law faculty on developing curriculum and scholarly resources to enhance the law education experience.

This summer, Ikwueme will help set up legal clinics, work with Nigerian professors and law students, respectively, to develop a new curriculum that focuses on experiential learning, and alternate legal research methods to strengthen its existing non-electronic resources.

“It means everything to me to contribute in any measure possible so that law graduates from African institutions possess comparable legal skills to their colleagues in North America,” Ikwueme said. “The 21st century will not be fettered by geographical boundaries. The availability of competently trained international lawyers is a necessity for building mutually beneficial international legal business relationships. (Also) the scholarship opportunity the project promises cannot be quantified.”

The project aims to help law students sharpen their legal research skills to help them graduate practice-ready.

“I would like to use this opportunity to evolve as a scholar and expert in legal research and writing in the context of international legal education,” Ikwueme said. “This is important for two reasons. The quality of legal education in a continent like Africa is critically important to the U.S. legal market both as a primary provider of trans-boundary legal services in a globally contracting economic market; and in the training of foreign law students, many of whom end up in the U.S. for post-JD education and subsequently transition to the U.S. legal market as foreign-trained lawyers.”

The University of Nigeria project is one of 57 projects pairing African Diaspora scholars with higher education institutions in Africa to collaborate on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training, and mentoring activities. Ikwueme is one of 59 African Diaspora scholars who have been awarded fellowships to travel to Africa beginning in May 2016 to conduct a wide range of projects across disciplines, from agroforestry to e-learning modules for nursing, and from ethnomusicology to military mental health. The program has now selected and approved a total of 169 Fellows since its inception in 2013.

Ikwueme noted that Nigeria is the only African country on the Institute of International Education’s list of top 20 countries of origin for students with study visas in the United States.

“This is an invaluable opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of Liberty University as the best place to acquire Christian-centered quality education,” Ikwueme said. “The project also opens the opportunity to market Liberty to other Nigerian universities in the Eastern and Western parts of Nigeria. … This is a fertile ground for recruiting students who desire top-quality Christian education.”

In 2014, Dr. Ben Kalu, an assistant professor in Liberty University’s Department of Biology & Chemistry, was selected by Carnegie as an African Diaspora scholar to study the molecular signatures of breast cancer.

Another law faculty member, Timothy M. Todd, traveled to Australia on a fellowship from Atax (Australian School of Taxation) last summer to teach and research tax law.

This fall, Dr. Christopher Seitz, an assistant professor in the Department of Public & Community Health, will spend six months conducting research on health issues and teaching at University College Cork in Ireland on a grant from the Fulbright Scholar Program. Liberty University’s Fulbright Program is administered by the Liberty University School of Law dean’s office. Edna Udobong, professor at the law school, serves as Liberty Fulbright Program advisor and scholar liaison. Udobong herself received a Fulbright grant in 2008 to teach and conduct research in Nigeria, and in 2013 she was awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to South Africa.

The Law School has created a 12-member Fulbright committee — made up of faculty members from different departments and chaired by Dr. Barry Moore — to review and evaluate Liberty students’ Fulbright applications. For more information about the application process, contact Udobong at eudobong3@liberty.edu.

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