During a three-week Winter Term course, titled “Business of Baseball and Tourism in the Dominican Republic,” two dozen students examined issues relating to neo-colonialism and globalization while traveling in the Caribbean nation.
Assistant Professor Mark Cryan and Associate Professor Kirstie Doehler took 24 Elon University students aboard in January as part of a Winter Term class titled “Business of Baseball and Tourism in the Dominican Republic.” The Global Education course, which examined issues relating to social justice, globalization and U.S. neocolonialism, was featured in a Feb. 3 article in the Greensboro News & Record.
Titled “Elon course teaches lessons through baseball in the Dominican Republic,” the article details the students’ experiences as the class explored local practices in baseball and the tourism industry. Students and instructors then addressed the effects those practices have on the culture, people, international relations and economy of the Dominican Republic.
The class traveled across the Caribbean nation, visiting several MLB-funded baseball academies, which regularly churn out professional players. The students also played ball with local youngsters, including a game played with a horse grazing in the outfield. Regardless of the venue, the class experienced the country’s deep-rooted love for baseball and the game’s constant presence in the lives of the people they encountered.
“There’s some really big takeaways,” Cryan told the newspaper. “The baseball sells the class. The kids want to go someplace warm in January. That’s the spoonful of sugar. But the medicine is learning about U.S. interventionism, globalism, neo-colonialism, ethics issues surrounding poverty and the power of wealth. … The students learn some hard stuff, but it’s couched in a joyful three weeks.”
As assistant professor in the Sport and Event Management Department, Cryan has led three installments of the Winter Term class that he created with Donna Van Bodegraven, associate professor of Spanish. For Doehler, an associate professor of statistics, this year’s trip was her first.