TV special featuring education professor to air on RI PBS

A made-for-TV special featuring a Salve Regina professor’s voyage aboard a tall ship to discover academic possibilities and help develop “classroom” programming at sea will begin airing this weekend on Rhode Island PBS.

“Gazela,” a half-hour special produced and directed by social media coordinator James McGuire, chronicles the lessons that Department of Education chairwoman Kathy Vespia learned during her five-day voyage aboard the tall ship Gazela Primeiro last summer as it sailed from Philadelphia to Newport.

Vespia was among six educators representing Rhode Island’s secondary and higher education institutions on board the Gazela to develop educational initiatives and programs for the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, the soon-to-be-commissioned 196-foot, square-rigged tall ship that will serve as the state’s official “Sailing Education Vessel.”

“Gazela” chronicles the lessons that Vespia learned during the voyage. From seamanship and teambuilding to the physical rigors of daily life at sea and self-evaluation, Vespia’s experiences on board the ship left her with a different understanding of what it means to join a crew, how one must rise to the challenge when the educator becomes the learner, and how the “needs of the ship” directly relate to the classroom experience.

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is named for Newport’s War of 1812 naval hero Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The ship, scheduled for completion this summer, will be docked in Newport. It will be owned and operated in trust for the people of Rhode Island by Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island.

The tall ship will offer education at sea programs while advancing the state’s maritime heritage. Vespia and Erin FitzGerald, director of international programs, have been investigating various opportunities for collaboration with William Leeman, assistant professor of history, Kathy Nickerson, associate professor of education, and Sarah Matarese, assistant professor of biology and biomedical sciences.

Broadcast schedule for “Gazela”:

  • 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23 on Rhode Island PBS (36.1)
  • 11 p.m. Sunday, March 24 on Rhode Island PBS (36.1)
  • 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 on WSBE Learn (36.2)
  • 5 a.m. Thursday, March 28 on WSBE Learn (36.2)
  • 2 a.m. Friday, March 29 on WSBE Learn (36.2)

Click here to view the original four-part Gazela web series.

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