Date: December 3, 2015
Interviewee: Dr. Julius Adekunle
Interviewer/Transcriber: Samantha Sharp, Monmouth University Student
Place: Monmouth University Library
Dr. Julius Adekunle was born in a small rural town in Nigeria and for him, his life was beautiful. Even though it was a small community and he knew everyone, there were a lot of activities for him to participate in, along with his education. Education was very important to Dr. Adekunle since from a very young age he knew he wanted to become a teacher. He’s had many teachers along the way, as well, that have helped inspire him and helped him grow as a teacher. What Dr. Adekunle loves most about teaching is that it “is one of the ways by which you can relate with people. Not with papers, not with folders, not with files, but with human beings.” He loves to talk and socialize with people and to help others learn something with this.
To achieve this goal Dr. Adekunle has attended a lot of schooling in his life. He went to Nigeria’s Teacher’s College and attended the advanced school so he received his Nigerian Certificate of Education. After this he went to the University for the rest of his Undergraduate and Graduate career and then attended Dalhousie University in Canada to get his Ph.D. in History, specializing in African History. It was a big change for him, moving to Canada, because of the weather change. He had family continue their schooling there as well and even though they told him how much colder it was going to be, he still was not ready for it. Even though it made him miss home he pushed through and was able to succeed. While in Canada, he taught a high school history class but did not like it because of the lack of drive some students had. He had taught some classes at the college level in Nigeria and in the United States and preferred teaching this level.
Dr. Adekunle arrived at Monmouth University in August of 1996 and has taught here ever since. He came to work in the United States of America because he knew that there was a bigger market for African Studies here. Since he has worked here for over nineteen years he has seen some big changes to the campus of the school. Development has been huge and he feels that there has been a new building going up almost every year. He has also seen a lot more diversity in the students and he truly wants to see this grow in the future. He loves the staff he works with in the History and Anthropology Department. He loves how fun they are to work with and how they work together in staff meetings to understand each other and help out. His wife and children have also been able to further their education at Monmouth because of tuition remission for families, which is also one of his favorite things about working at Monmouth.
Dr. Adekunle and his family also live a stone’s throw away from campus in Long Branch. He loves being close to work and has also seen a lot of development in the area. He loves how Pier Village was built and how it helped make the beach more beautiful. His daughter also did a project on the area and found that over 51 languages are spoken locally, showing how diverse the area is. Although he loves where he lives now, he still misses his family and home in Nigeria. He tries to go visit them at least once a year and when his children were young he would take one or two of them with him. It is, however, hard to get there because flights are very expensive and this limits the amount of trips he can take. When he goes back he takes American cultural aspects, mainly governmental, that he thinks could help improve his old community. He is friends with some in the government so he makes sure to tell them these things when he visits. Meanwhile, he visits family and friends and has fun being with them and sharing their culture with each other. He loves Nigerian food and eats it there with his family, joking that he leaves the mac and cheese in America!
Dr. Adekunle has loved his experience here at Monmouth University. He made a point to explain that he has had no bad experiences here and loves his students. He has what he calls his “pocketbook” of favorite students which he has loved to see grow and become educated adults. The main skill he wants students to gain from his class is that when they find a subject interesting, he wants them to delve in and research it properly. Dr. Adekunle wants them to learn and be focused and to study hard. He loves teaching African History and wishes it was focused on more in K-12 schools. He feels that it is left out and when they get to college they find out that there is so much more to African History than just what they see on television. Dr. Adekunle is a wonderful professor at Monmouth University. He loves being a part of his students’ lives, teaching them about history, and watching them be inspired to learn more.