Meet Dr. Sandra Hurlong

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Every organization needs strong leadership and the Intercultural Open University Foundation (IOUF) is fortunate to be able to call upon the strengths and experiences of many excellent academics and administrators in the course of our daily work. At the head of the team, is our President, Dr. Sandra Hurlong.

Dr. Hurlong began her academic career with a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from The Union Institute and University, a well-respected open university specializing in distance education. The Union Institute was a pioneer in innovation in higher education and Dr. Hurlong’s stellar work led her to positions as both Assistant Dean and Professor at that university.

She has had other weighty academic appointments as well but following the 2008 death of IOUF co-founder, Dr. Jan Hakemulder, she agreed to take on the responsibility for leading the IOU Foundation onward through the new millennium.

The task was a challenging one: as soon as Dr. Hurlong assumed her post, the IOUF Board of Governors requested a detailed assessment of the Foundation’s operations, methodologies and pedagogy, and drew upon Dr. Hurlong’s expertise in distance education to set a strong new direction for the future. One of the primary results of the review was a decision to focus more extensively on doctoral and post-doctoral programs.

Dr. Hurlong’s career has been grounded in both non-traditional learning and formal academic training. She has published widely and won numerous awards and grants; she also works closely with Hextlearn’s Peer Review Methodology Project. This program is supported by the European Commission and aims to enhance the reform process of Europe’s higher education institutions by creating, testing, and launching e-learning assessment methods.

Dr. Hurlong also sits on the advisory board of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Group. This is a social change organization that generates interdisciplinary research while sharing information aimed at enhancing human dignity. The group develops creative educational programs and strategies, devises pilot projects, and advises governments on public planning policy.

As President of a global organization and an internationally recognized scholar in culture and continuity and the anthropology of religion, Dr. Hurlong divides her time between the IOUF’s offices in Wilmington, USA and Granada, Spain. She is an IOUF Professor of Anthropology and she also maintains active research and program work in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she focuses her energy on projects relating to intercultural communication.

Dr. Hurlong believes that cultural diversity is essential to human survival and that awareness of diversity is critical to learning. As President of IOU Foundation, she has steered a strong course towards the evolution of compassion and understanding in our world, particularly as it relates to academic achievement.

If you feel called to find out more about how the IOUF can help support your career goals and hopes for humanity, we invite you to contact us to inquire about becoming one of our learners. 

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