Critical Reflections on Communication

Location: Cape Coast, Ghana - University of Cape Coast


May 27 – July 5, 2013



During our six weeks in Ghana, we will explore issues related to communication in the classroom.  Through a combination of theory and practice we will survey the underlying philosophies and practices of education in Ghana in contrast to the philosophy and practice of education in the United States.  In particular, we look to study, critically, the patterns of communication in the classroom with a focus on student /teacher interactions.  Most importantly, our goal is for students to learn about the complexities, perspectives, and traditions of another culture.  The most effective way to truly learn about another culture is by immersing yourself in it.  We believe that through study, observation and personal experience, we will all leave Ghana with a new understanding of the Ghanaian culture. Through the mutual exchange of information and ideology we will all grow and know better our responsibilities as global citizens.

Heritage Academy

Heritage Academy is a private school in the village of Essiam located in the Central Region of Ghana, 60 miles from the country’s capital of Accra. Heritage Academy first opened its doors in 2004 to just 32 students. Today, Heritage has two locations and the enrollment stands at 1,057. There are two reasons for the success of Heritage Academy:
1. the progressive approach to education and teaching
2. the unprecedented educational accomplishment of Heritage. In 2007, Heritage’s first graduating class achieved a 97% pass rate on the National exams and since 2008 Heritage has maintained an unbelievable 100% pass rate. [The normal pass rate for private schools in Heritage’s region is 50%. The pass rate for the public school 2009 was 0%.]
Heritage Academy is the dream and passion of Westtown School teacher and Essiam born Kwasi Koompson. Heritage Academy has the seven core values: Knowledge, Integrity, Responsibility, Respect, Discipline, Simplicity and Hard Work.

As a part of our course, we will visit Heritage Academy and work with the teachers and students on projects most relevant to their expressed needs and desires.
Information for this paragraph taken from Heritage Academy website.

Course Offerings

Communication in the Classroom:  The Influence of Teacher Communication Choices on Developing the Heart of a Learner

During the first three weeks with Dr. Nance, students will identify principles of education that have guided their intellectual development to this point in their academic career.  Then, through a combination of guest lectures, library research, and classroom visits students will be introduced to the principles and practices of Ghanaian education.  Theoretically, we will draw our foundation from the work of Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal.

The last three weeks with Professor Lewis, students will learn the fundamentals of video production and create short video projects that will highlight principles of education through the voices of Ghanaian students and teachers. At the conclusion of the program, the students will present their projects to members of the Cape Coast community with whom they have interacted for comment and discussion.

This course is worth a total of six credits. Students will earn the following credit:

COM3390: Special Topics in Media & Film - 3 credits
COM3490: Special Topics in Interpersonal & Organizational Communication - 3 credits

These courses may potentially fulfill the following Villanova University requirements: Communication, Cultural Studies, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Africana Studies, Peace & Justice, and Diversity. Please discuss this with Professor Lewis in order to determine how you may receive credit.

Additional Academic Requirements

Open to all majors and minors at Villanova University. It is also open to Communication majors and minors from other universities.

No language requirement.

2.75 GPA and a record clean of disciplinary issues, academic probation, and/or financial holds on VU account.


A five-day excursion to Kumasi is planned during the mid-program break. This will signal the transition between the two courses and will allow a transition from the theoretical to the practical. Additional day excursions are planed to Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle, W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Kumasi National Cultural Centre, Accra Art Centre, Bonwire, Boti Falls, Independence Square, Labadi Beach, Accra National Museum, Lake Bosomtwe, Fort Kumasi, Kakum National Park and more.  Students will also visit Heritage Academy.

2013 Itinerary

May 26: Depart USA for Ghana
May 27: Arrive in Ghana
May 28: Orientation and Welcome Reception
May 29 - June 13: Dr. Nance's course begins
June 14 - June 18: Dr. Nance's course concludes; Midterm Break, excursion to Kumasi
June 19: Dr. Lewis's course begins.

July 4: Dr. Lewis's course concludes; Film Showing & Farewell Reception
July 5: Final day in Accra; Departure for USA

NOTICE: Villanova University reserves the right to modify or cancel the program if circumstances warrant.

Faculty Coordinator

image of Cape Coast, Ghana

Prof. Hezekiah Lewis
Department of Communication
Geary Hall B1
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Payment Information

Applications are due no later than March 1, 2013; the non-refundable commitment fee of $450 is due upon receipt of acceptance letter. Final payment due prior to the departure of program.

Total: $4,200
Includes: tuition, accommodations on the University of Cape Coast campus with breakfast included. Orientation, excursions and day trips within Ghana, internet and receptions. Lunches during the week and a Sunday Supper, along with other meals as assigned.

Cost does not include airfare. An optional (highly recommended) group flight will be available to interested students. This flight will be coordinated by Dr. Lewis.


Students will stay in double-occupancy rooms on the campus of University of Cape Coast. Most lunches and Sunday Suppers will be taken on campus. During the five-day excursion to Kamasi, students will continue staying in double-occupancy rooms.