Practice Reports

An unspoken truth: faculty (in)equity in the context of invisible violence: virtual exchange case studies




Globale Education, International Partnerships, Virtual Exchange, Equity, Faculty


International Virtual Exchange (VE) can be a valuable addition to the AIDE (Access, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) toolbox, particularly at higher education institutions in the Global North. However, an interesting dynamic emerged in certain partnerships created by faculty from Venezuela, Yemen, and the USA. With benefits to the students rightly being the main goal of the exchange, the issue of faculty inequity, created by the forces of invisible violence in the Global South participants’ societies, was brought to light only much later. The inconvenient truth is that traditional power structures and invisible privileges can easily color a VE, particularly when faculty from the Global North are not fully cognizant of the sociopolitical realities being experienced by their partners in the Global South. The solutions should go beyond practicing cultural humility. VEs should be grounded in the ethical responsibility of honoring the human capital that both partners bring to the partnership.

Author Biographies

José Luis Jiménez Figarotti, Catholic University Andres Bello

José Luis Jiménez Figarotti - Ph.D. Candidate: Comparative Studies, FAU. Research: Transformative Learning; Peace, Justice and Human Rights. Honors: OAS scholarship for MA at AU, Washington, D.C.. Videos: "Caring for the Earth," UN Environment Programme; “Moving Wages Clients to Sustainable Employment,” UF. Exhibitions: Art in Public Places program, Hollywood, Florida.

Suba Subbarao, Oakland Community College

Suba Subbarao teaches English at Oakland Community College. Having lived and worked in both the Global North and Global South, she has always strived to bring the world to her students, setting up her first virtual exchange in 1996. Currently, she also serves as the college’s virtual exchange coordinator.

Eleonora Bagatelia, Oakland Community College

Eleonora Bagatelia is a director of Global Education at Oakland Community College, Michigan USA. She has been working for over twenty years in the field of International Education, focusing on the experiences of both domestic and international students. Her professional interests include use of virtual exchanges in the institutional internationalizations.





Practice Reports