The African Studies Program welcomes incoming Assistant Director Dorothy Mayne

Dorothy Mayne (Submitted Photo)

Welcome, Dorothy!

The African Studies Program is pleased to welcome new Assistant Director Dorothy Mayne. Dorothy will join us from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where she recently completed her Ph.D. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, specializing in Global Studies of Education. Dorothy will assume her new position on August 12th.

“This all fell together in a great way,” she said, “I found a great position at an institution I truly respect in a town I really like.”

Dorothy has extensive experience in international education and cultural affairs programming, which includes working as a Program Associate for the Study of the United States Institutes for Secondary Educators at UIUC and as an Administrative Assistant for the Department of Cross-Cultural and International Education at Bowling Green State University.

“Dorothy is perfectly positioned to lead the Mandela Washington Fellowship here in Madison,” said associate director Aleia McCord. “She has the cross-cultural competency needed to succeed as well as direct experience organizing large residential cultural exchange programs for visitors from across the globe.” This year marks the fourth year that the African Studies Program has hosted the Mandela Washington Fellowship. “I’m looking forward to seeing how Dorothy grows the Fellowship program in the coming years, and I hope she enjoys working with our campus and community partners as much as we have.”

Dorothy also has substantial experience as a research and writing consultant, including as a Teaching Assistant, English Language Fellow, and as Assistant Director of the Writer’s Workshop at UIUC. “I hope our African Studies students will call upon Dorothy for support with their writing and research,” said McCord. Finally, Dorothy has personal experience living and researching in Africa. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar from 2008-2011, an experience which shifted her perceptions of the continent and international involvement there.

“I was interested in volunteering in a Francophone country specifically because I had studied French, but I quickly learned that this was misguided. You are not going to earn anyone’s trust in a community by speaking French, so it is essential to learn local languages,” she said. “I saw that the most successful efforts for positive developments in my community were those that were led by local people. This first-hand experience shaped the way that I see international and language education development and policies”

After returning from the Peace Corps, Dorothy engaged in research on the experiences of Malagasy immigrants to the United States, on language of instruction policies in East Africa, and about the motivations of undergraduate students in the United States in their study of African cultures and languages. Additionally, she was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the Center for African Studies at UIUC to study Swahili.

“As Assistant Director of the African Studies program,” she said, “I hope to continue my work on cultural exchange programs and promoting the study of Africa and African languages, which will improve global citizenship and understanding.”

You can contact Dorothy at

And yes, you still do have time to bid adieu to the current assistant director, Meagan Doll, who will depart African Studies on August 21st for her next adventure as a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington-Seattle. Click here for more information!