Xavier Magazine

Distance Teaching

For two semesters, Jennifer Tighe taught students in classrooms at refugee camps half a world away.


It wasn’t easy. Her students struggled with challenges unimaginable to her traditional students at Xavier.

refugeeThe language barrier was one—for most of her students, English was a third or fourth language. Malaria was not uncommon. And most had to walk long distances to their classrooms, which for some wasn’t much more than a hut.

“While I’m getting up and turning on the coffee, they’ve already walked so many miles to get to their classroom,” Tighe says. “The least I can do is be there for them.”

The courses were part of a program called Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins, which began in 2010 to bring college education to people living in refugee camps in Africa and Syria. It relies on volunteer faculty from Jesuit colleges and universities to teach the courses, which are totally online.