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The Global Partners Project

Phase One Proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

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BEST PRACTICES: STRENGTHENING PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

When leading and instructing students in foreign sites, faculty members face challenges for which they are too often unprepared. First, they must adapt their pedagogy to teaching in an unaccustomed environment. Further, they must deal with medical, logistical, and budgetary issues that are handled by administrators on their home campuses. We propose to hold, in two successive years, workshops for rising program directors and faculty, veteran directors and faculty, deans of students, and off-campus study advisers. These workshops will orient and support future directors and model pedagogical strategies for professors who have rarely taught outside the classroom. For example, we expect that one area of interest in the Best Practices Program will be Best Practices in Experiential Learning. This topic could be of great use to faculty and program directors responding to strong student interest in service learning, internships, and field study. Another might be Best Practices in Emergency Response, which would lead to the strengthening of connections between off-campus program directors, on-campus student life professionals, and local resources. Another might be Orientation and Re-Entry Programming, strengthening the connections between on and off campus programs.

The results of these workshops will be disseminated throughout the consortia for incorporation into ongoing faculty and staff development programs. These seminars might, for example, give rise to the development of Web-based resources for program directors, to the establishment of electronic communications between program directors and on-campus administrators, or to regional mini-seminars in which the "best practices" are refined. We also expect this discussion of best practices to inform the standards applied by the evaluation teams and advisory committees supported by each organization, leading to improved quality control.

The Best Practices Program will be overseen by a planning committee composed of representatives from all three organizations. A staff member from each organization will be assigned responsibility for implementation and: the three staff members will communicate regularly and coordinate their efforts. GLCA will take leadership in organizing the first of the two workshops, and ACS for the second.

INITIATIVES FOR EXCELLENCE

Strengthening advising and eliminating redundancy. Currently, students at ACM, ACS, and GLCA member colleges choose from hundreds of accredited international programs in over sixty countries. We propose to bring together representatives of the member colleges to review available programs on a regional basis, identify the stronger ones, recognize areas where options could be consolidated or eliminated, and provide more effective advising to students. These conversations will result in new institutional partnerships in both areas with numerous programs, like Spain or Germany, and those with fewer existing programs, like China or Latin America. (In the case of Latin America, we will be studying the feasibility of a fourth Center.)

At the end of the grant, these activities will result in the recommendation of specific program consolidations and terminations to the presidents and deans of the forty-one member colleges.

The discussions will also lead to the development of an "information clearinghouse" available to students, faculty, and advisors on all participating campuses to disseminate the information developed through the project. One example will be off-campus study advising for students in the sciences. Many students majoring the natural sciences, particularly in Chemistry and Physics, find it difficult to both study off-campus and fulfill a highly specific and structured major curriculum. A program to bring together science faculty and off-campus study staff to share current knowledge and explore new connections will benefit science students who wish to study overseas. The information clearinghouse will be a useful resource for science faculty, advisors, and students who wish to combine a science major with study abroad.

Strengthening Intercultural Competency . Off-campus study is insufficiently studied and theorized in terms of cultural identity formation, the acquisition of intercultural competency, and the psychology of cultural adjustment and transition. Intellectually and philosophically, these issues connect off-campus study with efforts to educate students for U.S. multiculturalism, just as they connect the classroom with experiential learning. We propose to sponsor a conference bringing together faculty and staff to consider the relationship between theory and student experience. In particular, we hope that this conference will launch collaborations between faculty and student-life staff to design programs integrating global issues into campus discussions of domestic diversity. We also hope that this conference will give rise to an effort to develop measures to assess the increased intercultural competencies of students who study abroad. Finally, the revision of orientation and re-entry programs to better engage issues of intercultural competency will be another result. ACM will take leadership in planning this conference.

New Connections Between On and Off Campus Language Learning. A number of ACM, ACS, and GLCA colleges have participated in Mellon-funded efforts to strengthen language instruction through the use of technology. Now we propose to bring together faculty who have participated in these efforts to consider how best to address the particular needs of students going abroad. These meetings will identify best pedagogical practices in introductory language courses to prepare students for continued learning in a foreign language environment.

A second initiative will address the difficulty for small colleges of maintaining instruction in less commonly taught languages at multiple levels. For more than 15 years the Beloit Center for Language Studies has provided intensive summer courses for students in Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Czech, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Turkish. We propose to work with Beloit to transform the Center into a consortial resource by outreach intended to develop a sense of shared ownership among the faculty and administrations of participating campuses and by identifying strategies to make the program affordable.

The Initiatives for Excellence will be overseen by a planning committee composed of representatives from all three organizations. A staff member from each organization will be assigned responsibility for the implementation and evaluation of aspects of the program: the three staff members will communicate regularly and coordinate their efforts.

ADMINISTRATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Dr. Elizabeth Hayford, President of ACM, Dr. Wayne Anderson, President of ACS, and Dr. Jo Ellen Parker, President of GLCA, will jointly act as Principal Investigators for this grant and will assume responsibility for its administration and implementation. In particular, Dr. Hayford will assume responsibility for the Russia and East/Central Europe Center, Dr. Anderson for the Turkey Center, and Dr. Parker for the Africa Center.

Each Center will have a project coordinator, a local person hired on a part-time basis to support and coordinate the operations of the Center. A faculty member will be supported to give intellectual direction to the Center.

A joint coordinating committee will advise the three presidents and oversee all grant-funded initiatives. This group will serve as a catalyst for the entire effort and oversee and review all plans, budgets and activities. ACM representatives are expected to include Dr. Helen Scott, Associate Dean and Professor of Russian, Grinnell College; Dr. Terry Bigalke, Director of World Affairs and Professor of History, Beloit College; and Dr. Elizabeth McKinsey, Dean of the College, Carleton College. Additional representatives from the ACS will include Dr. Stephen Briggs, Dean of Rollins College, Dr. Julius Coles, Director of International Programs at Morehouse College, and Dr. Gama Perucci, Professor of Political Science and Director of International Programs at Birmingham-Southern College. GLCA representatives will include Dr. Greg Mahler, Provost of Kalamazoo College, Ms. Patti Brown, Director of International Programs at Denison University, and Dr. Suzanne Gay, Associate Provost and Professor of East Asian Studies at Oberlin College.

Each president will, of course, regularly consult with the groups in each organization involved in off-campus study, particularly with the presidents, deans, and international study professionals on member campuses.

Task Forces will be created to oversee the Best Practices Program and the Initiatives for Excellence. Staff members from each organization will be assigned to each Task Force. Task Forces will be responsible for planning and implementing specific projects and for reporting to the coordinating committee on activities and outcomes. Leadership of task forces will be drawn from faculty and administrators with appropriate experience and interests, generally with representation from the standing committees of ACM, ACS, and GLCA.

Technology will be pervasive throughout these projects, as appropriate to the nature and location of each, and existing hardware will be relied upon. Specifically, a Web-based information clearinghouse will be established for this project, technological resources (both web-based and multimedia) will be developed to support workshops and conferences, and technological links (ranging from on-line courses to joint research pursued via e-mail) will support interactions between programs, faculty and students overseas and their counterparts on campus. Each task force will ensure that their activities are making effective and efficient use of available technology.

INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT

Mellon funding will see some initiatives through to their conclusions. For example, the Best Practices and Initiatives for Excellence will create materials and reshape ongoing activities within the period of the grant and will not require continued financial support. The Centers will be developed under the grant as pilot programs, with relatively heavy initial expenditures for planning, network building, and resource development. At the end of the pilot and development period, ACM, ACS, and GLCA will propose budgets to support ongoing Center activities from a combination of consortial, institutional, and base program resources. (It should be noted that ACM, ACS, and GLCA have long experience in developing and managing balanced off-campus program budgets after an initial period of start up investment.)

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

  • International Learning Centers will be developed in Russia and East/Central Europe, Turkey, and Kenya.90 faculty members will participate in faculty seminars associated with the Centers.100 faculty members will receive travel grants through the Centers.30 faculty members will offer courses in coordination with the Center or conduct joint research with students through the Center.Cost savings will be realized by participating institutions through the use of Center resources.Redundant programs, resources, or activities will be identified by the Centers and eliminated.100 faculty and staff members will participate in the Best Practices workshops. Materials or approaches developed for Best Practices will be disseminated through regular and ongoing programs, extending them to 300 additional faculty and staff.25 program directors will participate in two Leadership Workshops. Joint workshops will be both more substantial and more cost-effective than isolated orientation efforts.75 faculty members and student life professionals will attend the Intercultural Competence Conference. Collaborations resulting from the Intercultural Competence Conference will lead to the development of a model on-campus diversity education program and the development of an instrument to assess increased intercultural competence in students who study abroad. 150 people will participate in the effort to identify review programs and identify redundancies.
  • Recommendations for the elimination of redundant programs and program consolidation will be presented to, and acted upon by, the appropriate presidents and boards.

TIME LINE

April or May, 1999

  • First meeting of coordinating committee

June - September, 1999

  • On-going discussion within coordinating committeePreparation of action plans for major initiatives : e.g., the Centers , Best Practices, Initiatives for ExcellenceDesignation of leadership for specific events and projectsReview and refinement of the overall three-year budget and time line
  • Agreement on evaluation process and identification of prospective evaluators

September 1999--August 2000

  • Center Task Forces identify staff, announce schedule and guidelines for travel grants, announce seminar topics and dates, identify seminar leadersOutreach to programs and institutions to create local network for Center-based resource sharingBest Practices group plans and executes seminar for summer 2000Intercultural Competency and Strengthening Advising groups convene, create action plans. First seminars take place summer or early fall 2000Science Initiative survey of current options and needs is conductedLanguage Learning Committee reviews Beloit Center for Language Study, works with deans and faculty members to develop plan for wider involvement
  • Coordinating group meets regularly, reports to deans, presidents, and Mellon

September 2000 -- August 2001

  • Centers award travel grantsFaculty seminars take place at the CentersResource sharing partnership in local networks are activeBest Practices group reviews first conference and plans and holds second in summer 2001Intercultural Competency group reviews conference, disseminates results, plans follow-up effort in resource and paracurriculum developmentStrengthening advising group identifies possible partnerships/consolidations, reports on them to presidents and deansScience Initiative identifies promising sites and conducts exploratory visitsLanguage Learning conducts regional meetings to consider on-campus links to off-campus language learning, possibly through new uses of Beloit Center.
  • Coordinating group meets regularly and reports to deans, presidents, and Mellon

September 2001 -- August 2002

  • Centers award travel grants, hold seminarsCourses in Centers are linked technologically with on-campus courses and with courses in other programsRelationships with local network partners are expandedPossible planning for the creation of Latin America CenterBest Practices creates handbook of best practices, publishes both paper and web-based materials for campuses and programsStrengthening Advising Group recommends specific consolidations and program terminations to deans and presidentsScience initiative makes program recommendations to science faculty and deans
  • Coordinating Group establishes evaluation process, conducts evaluation, writes final report to Mellon, presidents, and deans. (This effort might extend into the first semester of 2002-03.)

CONCLUSION

The projects described above will create models for restructuring international study programs. Further, they will redefine programs in the related areas of advising, planning, curriculum development, and professional development. By reaching forty-one of the nation's leading liberal-arts colleges, this initiative will have national scope. It will model the benefits of innovative and extensive institutional collaboration and demonstrate the strong commitment of the private sector to international education for undergraduates.

We are grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its support of the planning process which has led to this proposal. All involved in the planning discussions have found them stimulating and inspiring, especially as they have created dialogue between colleagues from partner organizations. We appreciate the opportunity to put this proposal before the Foundation.

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