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Meet Spring 2017 Executive Dean Dan Garvey
Spring 2017 Executive Dean Dan Garvey, currently voyaging for the sixth time, has been through a lifetime’s worth of accomplishments while exploring with Semester at Sea.
Not only has he traveled the world, worked on his dissertation, taught classes, and served as an administrator, but most incredibly, Dean Garvey—alongside his wife Barbara, who once again joined Garvey on the Spring 2017 voyage—did it all while raising his son, Connor and daughter, Katie while at sea.
What first sparked your interest in Semester at Sea?
“My academic interest is experiential education, so I have always been interested in what kind of academic programs and institutions are beneficial for students, and Semester at Sea is a very robust experience. I wanted to know what the impact of such an experience would be on students. I knew fairly well what to predict with study abroad, but to me Semester at Sea was a whole new and remarkable academic undertaking.
“I wasn’t drawn to it as much for my ability to travel. Back at that time it was quite inconvenient. Connor was just being born, so he was six-weeks-old the first time we sailed. His passport picture was taken when he was 22-hours-old. I had to prop him up between two pillows.”
Can you describe that experience sailing with family?
“The kids, they sort of grew up on the ship. It’s the best to have your family around. Doing your work with your family in residence are some of the most cherished moments we’ve had on the ship.”
What brought you back to Semester at Sea for the sixth time?
“I did my dissertation on the moral effects of Semester at Sea on college students. I found it to be one of the most potent educational activities for students. So I’ve always come back because I feel we have an obligation to help train the next generation of people so that they have tools in their toolbox that will allow them to make the kind of positive change they want to make in the world. And one of the most important tools that someone can have is a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of cultures around the world.”
What are you teaching on this voyage? What do you hope to see in your students?
“I teach a course on Social Change. I introduce the students to the change makers in the various ports and countries we’ll be in. So the theme of the course is, ‘how do various countries deal with improvement and the need to modify practices? How do different countries and cultures evolve, and how are they embraced?’ The reason I’m teaching this course is because it’s probably the most exciting classroom experience I had when I taught the course in the Summer of 2014. I had a very diverse group of students from all over the world, and our ability to deconstruct what was going on was unbelievable. It was the class in my teaching experience that I often go back to as a justification for what I’m doing.”
Tell us a little about your field class. Why is it important to teach this class with Semester at Sea?
“The field class will be in South Africa and will be looking at the evolution of change in South Africa, how it moved through the apartheid system into its current form. What the social change agents were doing, and the price they paid, and now today what new and exciting opportunities there are. It should be self-evident that teaching that course within the milieu of the culture is infinitely more powerful.”