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PSU associate professor and faculty collects books for university in Africa

PSU has been known to give back to the community and help out at other universities. Thanks to faculty and staff, PSU has been able to donate books to Africa University in Zimbabwe.  

The process took approximately one year, to plan the project and gather the books, and now the books are expected to arrive at the university within two weeks. The faculty member responsible for coming up with this idea is Sang-Heui Lee, associate professor of management. Other faculty members that helped with this process is Randy Roberts, dean of library services, Kevin Backer, chair of the PSU faculty senate, and Paul Grimes, dean of Kelce College of Business.  

“In my conversations with Dr. Lee, it was apparent that he was passionate about this service opportunity in Africa and we were pleased to be able to support him,” Roberts said.  

This idea came about after Lee taught at Africa University during his sabbatical year in 2018. While he was there, he taught a global logistics class, and saw a need for more modern textbooks.  

“They (the books) were too old for a business class.” said Lee. “I thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to collect books for them when I came back to the United States.” 

The most recent books at the university were from 1986, according to Lee. 

When Lee came back to the United States, he began to spread the word to faculty and staff across campus about the opportunity to donate books to Africa University.  

“By doing this, I felt that the people here in Pittsburg have been really helpful in working together with this project,” Lee said. 

The other faculty members that were involved in this process each contributed in different ways.   

 “Library Services helped Dr. Lee identify freely available e-books and open educational resources,” Roberts said. “Our librarians looked for relevant titles among the book sale items we had on hand and we sent several large boxes of books to Kelce this past Spring.” 

At Africa University, their resources are slimmer than in the United States. Lee spoke about how the internet connection is weak, and power cuts off at a certain time each day.  

“Once they have these physical materials, then they can use these books at any time that they want to access,” Lee said.  

Lee and Grimes are editors of two academic journals. With the journal’s help, the book donation’s shipping cost was fully funded.  

“It’s a great feeling to know that my Pitt State colleagues are generous and willing to help students and faculty at Africa University in Zimbabwe,” Grimes said.  

The Kelce College of Business has supported Lee in his goals to fulfill this need of books for Africa University.  

“One of the best things about being a college dean is the opportunity to support faculty members and help them be successful in all their endeavors both inside and outside the classroom,” Grimes said.  

Shortly after Lee came back to the United States, the Morning Sun published a story about his idea to collect books. After the story was published, a professor from a university in Australia contacted him and is eager to get involved with donating to other universities in need.  

“This is really a collaborative effort to help somebody who does not have the same privilege that we have,” Lee said.  

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