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International Programs

Meeting with International Programs

2 October 2012

Attendees:   Anu Atre, Peter Blasenheim, Inger Bull, Bruce Coriell, Joan Ericson, Kate Holbrook, Hong Jiang, Mark Lee, Clara Lomas, Kristina Lybecker, Anna McCready, Gale Murray, Joey Patterson, Alexei Pavlenko, Eric Popkin, Tip Ragan, Wade Roberts, Barry Sarchett, John Williams, Peter Wright.

1)      Are there other kinds of experiences we can add to International programs? We have added to the list of approved programs and made it more difficult for students to do any other experience. Some programs are given preference by students because they are cheaper. We want every student to have the opportunity no matter their income. Debate exists over how to best support international programs: do you support all (tuition covers costs) or do you support each student (financial support for one study abroad experience)? There is discomfort when considering taking power away from the departments regarding when they can teach their courses.  A great deal of discussion followed emphasizing the difference between funding for a specific course and funding for a particular student.  It was generally agreed that we are interested in funding students’ international experiences on the basis of need, getting away from the funding that has been made available for a particular course (and all students within that course, regardless of need). 

2)      We are distinct because we can offer one-block classes abroad and we should be encouraging block courses abroad; argument over whether sponsorship should be for everyone or specifically need-based financial aid. Students in the middle get hit the hardest. Should everyone get international airfare and then do need-based aid? Can we take the summer model and apply it to programs throughout the year?  We discussed how to attract additional faculty to contribute to our international offerings.  Participants described a desire for greater understanding of the importance of international experiences, the work that goes into taking students abroad, and the academic demands of the programs (students aren’t doing tourist-travel and slacking academically).  Potential goal: We want to be the top school for short-term study abroad.

3)      It would be nice to have an overall, philosophical mission statement because currently there is a tension between the academic and the experiential. Breaking down the traditional construct of what learning is abroad. Importance: transformation is possible through study abroad in a way that is distinct. Different departments and majors should have equal opportunity to travel abroad because right now it is hard for science majors to travel. Question is what do we want our students to look like once they graduate? We don’t want students to do a study tour, but to be travelers and involved in the society. Potential goal: we should be known as the place that integrates experiential learning in a rigorous way.

4)      Students need to be able to integrate and articulate their experiences abroad once they return.  Need to improve knowledge of study abroad before students leave to better prepare them. Should we consider breaking the junior-year model so students can have experiences earlier?

5)      We could consider not only being an exporter of knowledge and scholars but an importer of the world’s brightest international minds. We need to do even more to support our international students when they come to campus, in part by helping faculty and staff know how to help them.  Should there be a voluntary “bridge program” for international students?  Can international students serve as “mentors” to American students preparing to go abroad? When students go off campus, we can offer international students block or semester long study abroad opportunities at CC.

6)      Faculty development seminar that is interdisciplinary so that CC professors have the resources and knowledge to teach international programs. This could perhaps be expanded so that CC becomes a central hub for teaching professors how to successful teach “on the block” (which most universities do in the summer).   Should we have some faculty development opportunities take place in other countries so that faculty can “see’ how to develop and teach off-campus courses?  We need to educate our own faculty about the benefits of study abroad; part can be the Mellon Grant, but problem can be lack of achievements: there’s no certificate program.  An interesting consideration is internships abroad. We need to define what a good experience is. 

7)      Should CC focus on particular parts of the word, such as the global south?  How should safety and equal access impact our offerings?

8)      Should we put international studies at the front and center of a CC education? We currently privilege learning culture and language but do we need to re-examine the guiding principles and the learning outcomes we achieve? Outcomes can be different for different students. Potential goal: Every student, regardless of income, has the opportunity to study abroad for at least one block.  If we made this commitment, what type of resources would we need?  Suggestion that we would need more staff (significantly) as well as more faculty lines to increase expertise in parts of the world.  For example, would it make sense to have five lines in African studies?  More lines in Latin American and Asian studies?