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Best Practices Consultants

 
 

The Global Partners Project, a collaboration of forty-two liberal arts colleges, has developed some valuable resources for international education programs. Bringing together the experiences of the member colleges, the project's Best Practices task force has addressed issues from cross-cultural communication to orientation for students going abroad.

The task force offered consultants from these initiatives to the Global Partners campuses. Listed below are the projects the task force has supported. The leaders of these projects were available to visit your college to share their experiences and ideas. These consultants made presentations to faculty and students. Consultant visits are no longer available.

 

Building International Connections
Birmingham-Southern, Centenary, Hendrix and Millsaps Colleges wanted to develop connections with institutions in Latin America. They collaborated in a recruitment effort by bringing a small group of high school administrators from the region to their campuses; each group learned more about the other's culture and educational institutions. It was also a cost-efficient way of strengthening international recruiting. Participants in this program could help you think about strengthening connections with people in other countries.

Intercultural Transitions in a Liberal Arts Context
Carleton College has developed a Cross-Cultural Studies concentration (minor), which focuses on the role of intercultural transitions as part of a liberal arts education. Program administrators and faculty can share with you a videotape and instruction booklet on intercultural transitions they produced. They will share their experiences teaching in the Cross-Cultural Studies concentration and demonstrate how intercultural competency is an outcome that depends both on curricular and co-curricular encounters, events, and knowledge.

Global Semester Program
Short-term study-travel courses are becoming increasingly common. Unless they are properly structured, however, such courses can only scratch the surface of the visited culture. Centenary College designed a model in which regularly offered semester courses culminated in a short-term overseas study experience. They can tell you how to enhance courses with a follow-on trip.

Orientation and Reorientation Programming
One of the keys to successful off-campus study is good orientation and re-orientation. Several Global Partners efforts have looked at ways to develop orientation and re-orientation programs.
*One brought together the off-campus-bound students of Monmouth and Coe Colleges to create a critical mass for a good pre-departure program.
*Faculty at Rollins College have developed a two credit orientation/reorientation course that is experiential and highly participatory, designed to promote changes in student attitudes at the knowledge or cognitive level, the emotional or affective level, and the behavior and action level. Students are encouraged to learn about their own social identities related to race, class, gender, and ethnicity and to think deeply about how these identities may affect cross-cultural interactions in the host country. The course relies on several theoretical models that are presented and referred to throughout the course. Centre College is working to incorporate some of this course material into their predeparture orientation.
* Birmingham-Southern College brought together experts from across the three consortia to identify best practices in the area of pre-departure and reorientation programs. The symposium was designed to allow participants to present models of varying types and within a workshop format to develop a schematic that outlined the needs, goals and activities of orientations in addition to identifying where orientations should be considered in the institutional framework of the liberal arts college. The schematic, a list of published resources and a narrative will be made available to assist institutions in the development of best practices in this area of study abroad. Any of these people could help you develop a new or strengthen an existing pre-departure orientation.

Student Symposium in Global Citizenship
Lake Forest College organizes an annual symposium on global citizenship, to allow students to share their experiences abroad with the campus community. There is also a keynote speaker who introduces concepts related to global citizenship and applies them to specific cultural contexts. This speaker is often involved in various meetings with students and faculty during the course of the symposium week, and attends the student presentations and gallery showing. Students studying abroad are given global citizenship-oriented questions to reflect upon while overseas and after their experience; upon their return they present reports on issues of global citizenship as viewed in different cultures, in a panel format with discussion. International students on campus share their perspectives on their American experience with the campus community, and give presentations on issues in their own countries. Finally, all students who have had some experience with another country are encouraged to submit visual materials (painting, drawing, slide presentations, artifacts, text with photo, etc.) to a gallery showing representing views of culture. The gallery showing is held during the week of the symposium. Finally, the website highlighting the symposium, linked to the College's study abroad page, is updated yearly before and after the event, to inform the greater community. Consultants from Lake Forest College will be pleased to discuss this program, the planning involved, and its benefits to the College community.

Intercultural Education and the Liberal Arts Tradition
Off-campus program directors from Denison and Southwestern Universities, working with faculty from their colleges, have done some reading and reflecting on the educational value of intercultural experience in terms of the U.S. small liberal arts college tradition. They can share with you what they've read and written, and encourage discussion about the place of international education in the liberal arts curriculum.

Collaboration in Creating Globally and Culturally Competent Citizens
Global Partners colleges have learned the benefits of collaboration by sharing ideas and resources. DePauw, Earlham, and Wabash Colleges, geographically close but with different strengths in international education, combined these strengths to think systematically about preparing globally and culturally competent citizens. They brought together students, faculty, and administrators to explore the concept of global citizenship, and developed collaborative on- and off-campus projects. They can tell you about what they learned, including the benefits and challenges of collaboration.

Intercultural Education and Local Immigrant Communities
Immigration and refugee communities are changing American communities-including communities around liberal arts colleges. How can these communities be a resource for intercultural education? Macalester College organized a conference about the growth and adaptation of a local immigrant group. The conference raised major questions of relevance to the challenges and achievements of immigrants to the United States, with a special focus on what these questions mean for intercultural learning in the liberal arts tradition. Consultants from this campus could help you think about your local immigrant community and its role in your intercultural education.

Recruiting and Training Faculty for Taking Students Abroad
At liberal arts colleges the faculty has significant responsibility for leading off-campus study programs. In part because of generational changes among faculty members, our colleges need more (and better prepared) faculty to lead off-campus programs. Two experienced off-campus program directors have developed a workshop about inspiring and training to take students abroad. Their presentation includes the cross-cultural and pedagogical character of study abroad, as well as some of the nitty-gritty administrative responsibilities.

Off-campus Study Opportunities for Science Students
Because of their structured courses and the importance of lab work, students in the physical sciences rarely get opportunities to study internationally. Some colleges and consortia, however, have developed programs designed to meet the special needs of science students. The leaders of these programs can describe their work and help you develop programs for studying science internationally.

Disability Issues and Study Abroad
Colleges across the three consortia are working to increase the number of their students that study abroad. In this work they must accommodate students with medical issues, learning disabilities, or other concerns. Several experts have developed a workshop to share their experiences and best practices in dealing with medical and disability issues. They can offer you suggestions for handling these challenges fairly and effectively.

   

updated 11/29/05

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