Alumni News and Stories
Dr. Billy Osteen, associate professor in community engagement at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been named the Zagat Global Fellow for 2016-2017.
Dr. Osteen began his residence on the Riverdale campus on Feb. 6. He will participate in student assemblies, meetings with Riverdale faculty, a conference on service learning sponsored by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and planning sessions for a Riverdale exchange trip to Honolulu and Christchurch in June that will focus on cultural traditions and belonging, community building, character education, sustainability, service learning, and personal and community resilience.
In addition to Dr. Osteen's teaching responsibilities at the University of Canterbury, he also serves as director of UC’s Community Engagement Hub, a program established to facilitate opportunities for all UC staff and students to engage with their communities. In this role, he makes possible solution-focused connections among businesses, community organizations, education, and governmental agencies with a particular emphasis on post-disaster contexts, inequality, and citizenship education. Dr. Osteen serves as a board member for the Sumner School in Christchurch, which his two daughters attended. He was a key organizer of Riverdale’s 2015 trip to Christchurch and the Sumner School, and has remained instrumental in helping to advance the exchange between Riverdale and Sumner, which will continue this year.
Prior to joining the University of Canterbury faculty in 2005, Dr. Osteen was a faculty member at North Carolina State University, served as a Peace Corps administrator, created and directed an intermediate school, taught English at a secondary school in Tennessee and two community colleges in California, guided whitewater raft trips in California, and facilitated multicultural education programs in Brazil and Tennessee.
His teaching and research focuses on curriculum design, higher education, and professional development with a concentration on experiential education and service learning.
The Zagat Global Fellows program, established by Riverdale alumnus Tim Zagat ’57 in 2015, fosters a partnership between Riverdale and various schools worldwide, with the purpose of introducing international educators to the Riverdale community for extended visits each year while also providing Riverdale faculty members an opportunity to become reciprocally immersed in each partner school’s educational program. This exchange will allow Riverdale to increase global connections and deepen the community’s understanding of other cultures.