Value of IFDS & Testimonials
Below are testimonials written by participants after their seminar experience. If you would like to speak with someone who has participated on one of our faculty seminars, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Understanding Modern Korea
Xiaoping Shen, Ph.D.
Department of Geography
Central Connecticut State University
I am very grateful for the support of the Ping Fellowship towards my participation in the Modern Korea seminar. The seminar and my own fieldtrip afterwards have allowed me to make contributions to our campus wide efforts to internationalizing our university in many different endeavors from teaching, research, and student and faculty exchange. As the chairperson of the Geography Department as well as the only faculty member that teaches a Korea course on campus, and as a member of the East Asian Studies Committee, I have benefited tremendously from the seminar program. The following are the activities that resulted from the seminar participation and field trip.
1. Curriculum development activities
A. Updating an existing course:
Although I have taught the Korea course for some years, this is the first time I have had an opportunity to visit Korea. As a geographer teaching a regional geography course, the personal experiences I gained from traveling in this country was invaluable. I have learned so much from Korean scholars and gained first hand experiences as well as a better understanding of the country. After my return from South Korea, I have been working on updating the lectures and course materials for my upper level Japan and Korea course to be offered in fall 2009.
B. Developing a new course:
In addition to teaching Japan and Korea in one course, I am developing a Korea course as another option (one existing alternative is a course on Japan) to Geog 435 Japan and Korea course based on the materials and experiences I have gained. The course will be offered in 2011.
C. Developing a new field course:
Given the increasing demand for East Asian field courses, I am developing a plan to teach a field course on China and Korea in the summer of 2011. I have taught field courses in China several times and this seminar has prepared me for the part in Korea.
In summary of curriculum development activities, my participation in the seminar has and will continue to benefit my students in my courses.
2. Research activities
Although my primary research interests focus on China, I am very interested in comparing China’s economic development with other countries--especially South Korea, which has been one step ahead of China. This seminar offered me a unique opportunity to learn from eminent Korean scholars and provided me with plenty of materials and personal experiences towards my comparative study between China and Korea. After this seminar, I am adding a study of cultural industrial development between China and Korea into my current research project.
3. Activities to Internationalizing Home Campus
A. Recruiting Korean students to CCSU
This seminar gave me a great opportunity to meet with Korean students, faculty and university administrators at Yonsei University, the host university of this seminar. I spoke with them about our geography, tourism and hospitality programs, our department, the University, and about our newly established foundations to support student exchange programs with Korean universities. I distributed our brochures and program handbooks to people in both universities.
During my time in Seoul, I was able to visit the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Kyung Hee University – CCSU’s sister university in Korea. I met with the Dean and Vice Dean of the school and several faculty members. We talked about student and faculty exchange opportunities and the existing agreement between our two universities. One of their faculty members gave me a tour of their Hotel and Tourism Management School and their campus, particularly their facilities for international students. Since our Geography Department hosts an interdisciplinary Tourism and Hospitality Studies (THS) program with our School of Business, the exchanges will be very beneficial to both universities. During the meeting, I gave them our program brochures and handbooks and also received their school’s English newsletters. After my return, I have shared the materials about their university, photos, and contact information with the deans and faculty. Our THS program director expressed great interest in sending our students and faculty to Kyung Hee and in welcoming theirs to our program.
B. Location of suitable host places for CCSU students and faculty in Korea
As the department chair, it is my responsibility and passion to establish active international exchange programs for our department and home university. When I was the coordinator of the China Resource Center, I instituted our most active sister university linkage in China with Northwest University in Xi’an and gained invaluable knowledge from this experience. The CIEE program gave me a wonderful opportunity to visit two excellent Korean universities. I am very confident that our students and faculty will enjoy their experience there.
I will share the materials I collected about these two universities with our students, faculty and the center for international education to recruit people to these two Korean universities. I am also interested in teaching a summer course at one of these two universities.
C. Exploring the potential opportunity for establishing sister university linkage
I have made a suggestion to our university administration that Yonsei University would be an excellent candidate for establishing sister university linkage. If our administration is interested in pursuing this relationship, I will do my best to make this process successful.
The Modern Korea program was an exceptionally well-organized and informative seminar. I very much appreciated the opportunity to participate in this CIEE program thanks to the generosity of the Ping Fellowship. The information, teaching and research materials, first-hand knowledge and personal connections that I gained from the seminar will benefit my professional development, teaching, students and the University’s internationalization efforts tremendously now and for years to come. I will definitely recommend CIEE’s programs and the Ping Fellowship to my colleagues and students in the future.
Revolution and Neoliberal Reform in Nicaragua
Global Studies Program
I began my Ping application with a Chinese proverb which embodies my teaching philosophy: "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand." And there is probably no better embodiment of this proverb than my experience with my first CIEE seminar in Nicaragua, “Revolution and Neoliberal Reform in Nicaragua” led by Hector Cruz-Feliciano. I can say without hesitation that it was one of the best learning experiences I have had. The seminar was challenging, informative, and perhaps most importantly, useful to my teaching in the Global Studies program at Providence College.
As a result of the seminar, I can report the following outcomes:
- On September 29, I will lead a brown bag lunch during international week sponsored by our Center for International Studies on our campus on my experience entitled “Infusing International Experiences into the Curriculum.” Here is a description of the event:
A Faculty Brown Bag luncheon with Prof. Nick Longo, Director of the Global Studies program. Sponsored by the Center for International Education and the Global Studies program Prof. Longo invites faculty to discuss how to incorporate the international dimension and short study abroad excursions into the curriculum. As a result of his summer 2009 grant to Nicaragua, Prof. Longo will offer a new course with a service-learning experience in Nicaragua in spring 2010. Grant sources and other resources will be provided.
At this luncheon, I will discuss my CIEE seminar experience and promote this option to other faculty on our campus as a way to incorporate international experiences into the classroom.
- In addition, I will be teaching a new course in the Spring of 2010, Community Engagement and Human Rights in Latin America. The course will directly take the knowledge gained in the international seminar and also include an international service-learning component in Managua to be complemented by service projects with Latin American immigrants in Providence prior to and upon re-entry from the international experience. This course would be offered in collaboration with experts on Latin American politics, along with Manna Project (www.mannaproject.org/AboutUs.asp) and Nitca (www.nitca.com), NGOs in Managua which I was able to visit while I was at the seminar.
I also hope to connect with some of the speakers from our seminar, and also to have Dr. Cruz meet with the my students to discuss not only the history and politics of Nicaragua, but also the CIEE program which some of the students might be interested in the future. If the course goes well, I hope it will become an ongoing course offering in our Global Studies and Public Service programs.
- Furthermore, I will use the seminar to revise the Global Studies curriculum, most especially my section of GST 101 this fall where I will include a case study on Nicaragua, especially on the consequences of neo-liberal economic policies (using the excellent lecture by Dr. Paul Oquist as a foundation).
- Finally, this seminar is an opportunity to strengthen the study abroad opportunities for PC students and faculty. Our Center for International Studies is going to add Nicaragua as one of our recognized study abroad programs for Global Studies majors (study abroad is required for our majors); and I believe our Center for International Studies will be able to offer partial funding each year for a faculty member to attend a CIEE seminar.
I would most especially like to thank CIEE for this amazing opportunity for professional development, which was made possible because of your generosity, along with our excellent dean of International Studies, Adrian Beaulieu.
I hope to attend workshops in the future, and would welcome the opportunity to bring speakers from CIEE to campus, most especially the dynamic leader of the Nicaragua seminar, Hector Cruz. Hector mentioned that he sometimes does campus visits and gives talks, and I would very much like to host Dr. Cruz next year, if that is at all possible.
In this seminar, there are many intangibles outcomes which will be hard to quantify, but will travel with me throughout my career. For instance, I heard so many inspiring stories from people like Mary Hamlin, Dora Maria, Monica Baltodano, and Carmen Rios that I will take with me. I also developed a series of professional contacts that are sure to help build our global studies program, and be invaluable to my future work.
Finally, I have also developed a great love for the country and people of Nicaragua, and see the conflicted history of this small but feisty country with the US and how today US citizens have a responsibility to make up for past mistakes and try to chart a course toward justice. Attending this seminar, and teaching my course in the spring, is one small part in this effort at reconciliation.
Identity, Community, and Culture in Contemporary Turkey
Dr. Marc J. O’Reilly
Department of Political Science
June 16-26, 2009, I had the pleasure to participate in my first CIEE international faculty development seminar. Members of my group and I visited Turkey, a beautiful and wonderful country. This was my first visit to Turkey as well as to the Middle East, a region of the world that I teach, study, and write on. The seminar was very well organized and led, features I stressed in my seminar evaluation and qualities I will emphasize when I address fellow Heidelberg University faculty at an upcoming faculty forum, a twice-a-year event when professors discuss recent experiences they have had which the university fully or partially funded.
I enjoyed the itinerary. We spent much of our time in Ankara and Istanbul, the two major cities. However, we also traveled to central Anatolia, a most interesting part of the country. I liked that my group saw well-known sites but also visited unexpected venues, such as a women and youth center and women’s co-op, both in an impoverished section of Ankara. That visit proved moving and inspiring, as my group heard from and spoke to women who have struggled to overcome the patriarchy of their families and society. Preceding that enriching experience, several professors had lectured to my group at Middle East Technical University. They were competent and informative and thus prepared us well for our tour. The other professors and experts who spoke to us during the seminar likewise impressed us with their knowledge and insight. Given what I saw and heard, I would like for Turkish scholars to speak at Heidelberg at some point; perhaps one could even serve as a visiting Fulbright scholar.
Several of the sites my group visited, especially in Istanbul, awed me. The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace, for example, underscore why the Byzantines and Ottomans rank among the greatest empires and civilizations. My Honors course on empires will benefit immensely from my experiences in and photographs from Istanbul. Below, I have included two of my favorite photos. My intention, moreover, is to lead a group of Heidelberg students on a tour of Greece and Turkey in Spring 2012, the next time I will offer that course. Other courses I teach, such as Politics of the Middle East, Global Politics, The European Union, and U.S. Foreign Policy vis-à-vis the Middle East, will also benefit from my visit to Turkey, as will my research. I will be presenting on Turkey at Heidelberg’s annual faculty research symposium in February 2010. I also intend to write a conference paper on Turkish foreign policy.
Having now visited and enjoyed Turkey so much, I will be promoting the country as an excellent study-abroad destination to Heidelberg undergraduates. I discussed the CIEE Turkey program with our excellent tour leader, Kathryn Bourgeois, who also serves as the program’s resident director. In addition, I will be speaking to Heidelberg’s Admissions Office staff about recruiting students from Turkey.
In sum, I had a “smashing” time in Turkey, as the British like to say. My participation in this IFDS was truly one of the great experiences of my professional life. The other participants were friendly and helpful, thus excellent travel companions. We shared what we knew about Turkey, exchanged many stories about teaching, research, and travel, and helped one another whenever assistance was needed. I am thus very grateful to CIEE for having awarded me a Ping Fellowship, which made the visit possible. I will always remember this extraordinary trip to an extraordinary country.
A Fusion of Identities: Examining Peru’s Complex Past, Present, and Future
Cristiane Q. Surbeck, P.E., Ph.D.
Department of Civil Engineering
The University of Mississippi
The National Academy of Engineering’s The Engineer of 2020 report (2004) describes the importance for U.S. engineering students to understand more about developing countries in order to work on technologies within constraints of cultural appropriateness and available resources. My participation in the Fusion of Identities: Exploring Peru’s Complex Past, Present, and Future IFDS seminar provided me with future opportunities to internationalize engineering students from the University of Mississippi (UM). As an assistant professor of Civil Engineering and one who benefited greatly from international experiences during my own college years, I want to provide similar knowledge and experiences to my students.
The following sections describe how I can use the IFDS seminar to educate students.
Lecture Materials in Civil Engineering
The IFDS trip to Machu Picchu, the ancient sacred Inca city, provided an opportunity for me to examine one of the civil engineering marvels of the world (see Figure 1). That the ruins survived 500 years as well as they have is a tribute to the ancient Inca planners and engineers who had a keen ability to apply their knowledge of city planning, hydrology, hydraulics, and construction. Much of what I have read and verified in Machu Picchu is excellent material for my senior-level Water Resources Engineering course, which I am currently teaching in Fall 2009. In building Machu Picchu, the Inca knew that a reliable water source existed. They were able to channel water from a natural spring to provide the city’s population with water. The Inca had no written language, and there is no evidence that they used mathematical formulas. For these reasons, it is incredible that the water conveyance channels were exactly the size necessary for the flow rate of water available. It is also incredible that their stormwater management systems wasted no rain water: rain water that fell on the city was channeled towards agricultural terraces for irrigation. The very effective channeling is also a reason why the ruins still exist today: rain water was effectively transported away from the city’s buildings, thereby avoiding floods and contributing to the good conditions in which we find them today. These facts are interesting illustrations of water management, a concept that civil engineering students often take for granted. I am preparing a lecture that illustrates those concepts. The lecture will be shown to the students in October 2009, when we transition between the course topics of hydraulic engineering to hydrologic engineering. This will help illustrate what they have learned in hydraulics and bring some early perspective to what they will learn in the hydrology component of the course. This lecture will also be delivered to the faculty at UM at a Faculty Development Luncheon on October 13, 2009.
Creation of Service Learning Course to Assess Student Interest in International Activities
To gage student interest in international activities, I created a course, which started this Fall semester, titled Service Learning in Water and Sanitation Engineering. Service Learning is a method of teaching and learning that combines academic classroom knowledge with meaningful service for needy communities. This course will use academic knowledge on fluid mechanics and environmental engineering to understand and retrofit a community-scale drinking water treatment system for poor areas around the world in need of clean water. Students will also spend class time discussing world water issues, such as the United Nations’ Millenium Developmet Goals. They will also work hands-on with the water treatment systems developed by Living Waters for the World (LWW, www.livingwatersfortheworld.org), located in college town, and suggest improvements. Students’ suggestions will be vetted and acted upon by the design team of LWW. At the time of this writing the class has 10 enrolled students. Though we are not going to travel abroad as part of the course, we will explore many global issues and work on a water treatment system that will benefit people in need in other countries.
This course is an indirect benefit of attending the Peru IFDS seminar. Before attending this seminar and meeting the other faculty members, I had never heard of Service Learning as a course. But by networking with other instructors in this seminar, I learned that some conducted Service Learning courses. This interaction propelled me to create my own course and assess UM students’ interest in international work.
Potential Exchange of Students between UM and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
During my stay in Lima and during the times that the seminar met at the Catholic University of Peru (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, PUCP), I met with members of the faculty of Civil Engineering and staff of the International Relations Office, which handles study abroad arrangements (see Figure 2). The professors who I met, Iris Dominguez and José Cabrera, had research and teaching interests similar to mine and were interested in promoting international exchanges between their students and mine. The representative from the International Relations Office, Jeanette Sampe, opened a new student exchange position for one UM student per year to enroll in engineering at PUCP. Upon my return to UM, I met with the UM Study Abroad Office to discuss the possibilities of exchanging students with PUCP. The Office is supportive of the idea. Communications will continue between the parties. As an example of further communications since my return, I have sent the faculty my notes from my course Environmental Engineering, which is a course that the PUCP faculty want to add to the Civil Engineering program.
Potential Creation of a Faculty-Led Program in Peru
UM has a style of study-abroad course classification called Faculty-Led Programs. These courses, normally held during summer sessions or winter and spring intersessions, are held abroad and are led by a faculty member (http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu). Now that I am familiar with Lima and PUCP, I am comfortable planning a faculty-led program to Lima and Machu Picchu that would include classroom lectures, hydraulics labs using the PUCP lab, and tours of Lima’s water treatment plants, the Villa El Salvador (a neighborhood in Lima) wastewater treatment plant, and the hydrology and hydraulics of Machu Picchu.
All of the above activities are concrete results from my participation in the IFDS Peru seminar. Communications will continue between myself and faculty and staff of PUCP to establish collaborative teaching and research activities.
I found the seminar an excellent way to learn about Peru and how to integrate education at UM to expose students to international activities, thereby teaching engineering students to be participants in international issues. I believe that activities such as these will promote not just the students at UM, but UM’s status as an innovative university in engineering education.
The seminar’s organization by Melvin Ledgard and Marion Tizon was flawless, and I am thankful for their attention to detail and for allowing me some time to make significant contacts at PUCP.
Contemporary Mexico through Art, Literature, and Cinema
Cathy Marie Ouellette, Ph.D
Department of History
The Ping Faculty Development Seminar Fellowship provided generous support toward my participation in the CIEE summer program in Guanajuato, Mexico. My home institution, Muhlenberg College, is a small, liberal arts college whose main source of income is student tuition. During these difficult economic times, funding for faculty development is very limited, making outside sources even more necessary for opportunities like the CIEE Faculty Development Seminars. I am very gracious for this funding, which helped defray costs associated with the program, and reduced the amount coming from personal income.
As the only Latin American Historian on campus, and one of two faculty members who teach exclusively on Latin America, the duty of exposing our student body to the diverse culture and history of this particular region is extensive. To that end, my goal as a new faculty member at Muhlenberg is to expand study abroad options for our students, and steer them toward regions—like Mexico—and produce more interest in Latin America in general. I am pleased to report that several students from Muhlenberg College participated in the summer study program through CIEE at the Universidad de Guanajuato in 2009. My intention is to further engage students through presentations in my own classes, and by speaking to the classes of faculty in the Departments of History, Anthropology, and Spanish. Our classes begin on August 31, 2009, and I have already contacted faculty to present in their classes during the fall semester.
The content and context of the CIEE seminar has opened my eyes to ongoing dialogue concerning the path of scholarship produced in Mexico amongst North American scholars. My undergraduate and graduate education concluded with the ideologies produced by Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes concerning the dialectic of the Mexican Revolution, and the failure of Mexicans to produce an internal sense of self and national identity under the heavy weight of North American cultural, political, and economic imperialism. The seminar heightened my grasp of the current conversations, which are at once domestic and global, regional and national, gendered, and ethnically diverse. Current studies of literature, cinema and art underscore the regional, national and global, and reflect upon past, current, and future political, economic, and cultural trends, necessitating a revision of canonical works included in my courses and a modification of the dominant theme in twentieth century historical works that underscored the conquered Mexico, victim of its colonial past and geographical location.
An immediate outcome of this seminar, I have expanded the literature included in my history courses this fall to include works by Jewish Women Mexican Authors outlined by Anna Adams, and am working with our library acquisitions team to acquire several films outlined by multiple seminar participants. I have reconsidered a course on race and ethnicity to effectively represent Jewish voices in the Spring 2010 semester, and will incorporate several authors in a course on Sex and Sexuality that go beyond the historical urban-rural divide and the dominant cinema that has emerged from Mexico City. Furthermore, I am currently teaching a new course on Women in Latin America that fulfills the Women’s Studies Minor and is enhanced by the art, film, and literature discussed during the CIEE seminar. I expect that with each new semester I will have the opportunity to reflect on the material from our conference and expand my syllabi to reflect current trends.
As mentioned in my application for the CIEE, our campus is currently in the process of re-conceptualizing its curriculum, and diversity and internationalization are substantial to this effort. As a direct outcome of this project, I have self-nominated for the President’s Strategic Plan for the coming five years with the hope of establishing goals directly related to diversity and difference on campus and within the curriculum. Few faculty members on campus teach courses that fulfill “D” requirements, and the connections between scholarship and pedagogy are lacking. My hope is to further strengthen these links not only though presentations on campus and in classes, but through focused discussion groups with faculty and staff over the next several years.
The CIEE IFDS in Mexico offered a unique opportunity to engage with scholars from Mexico and the United States, to establish connections with local archivists and professors, and to further transform what were inklings of research ideas into concrete research goals. A small, but no less significant outcome, was visualizing how I might take students to Guanajuato during the summer months, and be able to settle in with my family as well. Particularly useful was the visit to a Bed and Breakfast in San Miguel de Allende, arranged by Rebecca Beeman from the CIEE office in Guanajuato. The owners of the Inn, two Americans who had worked in the Federal District for decades, shared their own views of the state of Guanajuato, and illuminated the social work being performed by foreigners in San Miguel de Allende. I had previously resisted visiting that particular town because of its association with Americans, and was pleasantly surprised to learn about the substantial work of foreigners in the area. This is useful information to share with my students and colleagues.
In my application for this fellowship, I wrote that my goal was to engage students in a broad understanding of the historical discipline and interdisciplinary work. I did not anticipate that I would achieve similar outcomes for myself. Through the daily lectures and field trips, visits to art museums and galleries, and adding to my collection of slides with the extraordinary guided tour of the Alhóndiga, the way I approach my teaching and scholarship was transformed. History literally “came alive” during this excursion; now I have the opportunity to share this at home.
A Fusion of Identities: Examining Peru’s Complex Past, Present, and Future
Department of Social Work
Warren Wilson College
Participating in the 2009 International Faculty Development Seminar Peru—A Fusion of Identities: Exploring Peru’s Complex Past, Present, and Future had a deeper impact on my professional development than I could have hoped for. My observations in Peru have allowed me the opportunity to reflect philosophically on academic and practical connections. I have plans of integrating my experience into my course content. Additionally, I have plans and ideas of how this experience can help make linkages throughout Warren Wilson College and with colleagues beyond campus.
Culture is considered to be a whole pattern of learned behavior shared by a group of people. Common aspects of culture include language, religion, diet, clothes, and family life processes. In social work, we educate students to recognize the impact of culture on individual, groups, and communities. Cultural competence is a buzz word in the profession. Hogan-Garcia (1998) defines cultural competence as the ability to combine social and cultural understanding with interpersonal skills in order to develop effective relationships with culturally diverse people.
I recall a specific moment during the IFDS when I realized a short-coming in my own teaching. Prior to the IFDS I had been focusing my teaching of cultural competence as it relates to tangible and visible aspects of culture. During the IFDS we went to a photo exhibit of the history of the Shining Path. Upon viewing a photo of a campesino holding a makeshift gun with a wooden block stock, I immediately realized the impact past experiences have on shaping individuals culturally. I will now stress to my students the importance of political views and past experiences of potential clients with whom they work. Clients may be former guerillas or military personnel or oppressed indigenous people whose experiences may influence how they interact, communicate, relate. Cultural competence can be enhanced by examining how these experiences contribute to clients’ cultural identity.
During the IFDS I also had the opportunity to connect the concept of community competence with an example that I observed in Peru. Fellin (2000) identifies four conditions which enhance the competent functioning of a community. 1.) Residents have a commitment to their community; 2.) Various community groups possess self-awareness of their own values and self interests; 3.) The community effectively communicates about community issues among various segments of the community; and 4.) Residents participate in identifying and implementing goals. Our group visited Villa El Salavador, a district in Lima that spans 35 square kilometers. This community was created in the desert on the outskirts of Lima as a response to housing displaced people following a devastating earthquake in the 1970s. I was fascinated with the organization of Villa El Salvador in which each block has 24 family homes. Sixteen blocks form an organizational community or neighborhood. There is a school every eight blocks, a market every 20, and a clinic every 25 blocks. VES is divided into distinct areas: housing, public services, agriculture, industry/commercial, beach, and recreation.
I found myself struck by the community competence exhibited in Villa El Salvador. The community operates on a model that relies on the fluidity of planning, organization, and mobilization. This model has led to success of the community—35% of residents work in businesses within VES; 25% of residents are employed in the public works of VES; there are 46 public and 150 private educational institutions; there are 50 cooperative markets; and there is current construction of an industrial park and a university. My hope is to incorporate VES as a case example of community competence when I teach this concept in my senior-level social work practice with communities course. Students will be able to understand that development is an intentional balance of social, economic, and environmental advances. This type of development promotes justice, equality, and dignity.
One of the most unexpected outcomes of the IFDS was the benefit of inter-disciplinary perspectives. I learned so much from seeing the issues and topics through the lenses of my colleagues from other academic disciplines. It was fascinating to view the public education crisis from the perspectives of business, political science, and economics. I pondered the integration of social, economic, and environmental issues in Villa El Salvador. I was able to see the true sense of sustainability that took into account environmental initiatives, economic advances, and considerations for social networks.
I was very pleased earlier this month to receive an email from one of my IFDS colleagues who is teaching water resource engineering. She had remembered me talking about service learning projects I do in my social work courses that involve student engagement in community, both locally and through study abroad. She had contacted me because she is embarking on a service learning project in one of her courses in which her students will partner with an international NGO in the university community where she teaches. She solicited some recommendations for teaching the course. I was thrilled to help her consider how service learning can enhance the academic content of the course, and allow students to learn experientially. I am pleased I can continue the inter-disciplinary collaboration that will allow her students to increase their global perspective.
As a result of my participation in the Peru IFDS, I am planning a number of initiatives on the Warren Wilson College campus. In September 2009, I along with other faculty colleagues who have participated in various IFDSs will participate in a faculty colloquium facilitated by our assistant dean of faculty. This will be an opportunity for our other colleagues to learn about our experiences, and consider possibilities to participate in this faculty development opportunity. The Office of Academic Affairs has committed to sending one faculty member on an IFDS in 2010.
I will also work with the International Programs Office on the possibility of developing a short-term study abroad course in Peru for Spring 2012. I have tentatively conceptualized this course as one that will explore culture and community. I am hoping to build a relationship with Villa El Salvador that will allow for homestays and service learning opportunities for students. Additionally, as a member of the International Programs Advisory Committee, I will consult with the IPO about CIEE study abroad opportunities in Peru and elsewhere. I will also encourage our social work students to consider a semester in one of the CIEE programs that will deepen their foreign language skills and international/global perspective that will enhance their professional skills and knowledge.
I am proud that I had the opportunity to participate in the Peru IFDS. I am grateful to have had this experience that helps make me a more informed social work and educator. Because of this participation I feel a great deal of responsibility to share what I have learned and observed with my students and my college campus.
Fellin, P. (2000). The community and the social worker. New York: Brooks-Cole.
Hogan-Garcia, M. (1998). Four skills of culturally diverse competence. New York: Brooks-Cole.
Spain & Morocco: Exploring the Coexistence and Challenges of Neighboring Cultures
Portland Community College
Needless to say it is still early to be able to identify all the ways that the Spain and Morocco trip will impact my teaching and my service to the college. Here are just a few ways that I have so far identified specific impact:
“International Week” Presentation
I have scheduled already a presentation on “Morocco and their Educational Challenges” in November during our college-wide International Week. It is during this week that CIEE attendees usually present about their trips, and so both faculty and administrators are accustomed to looking for such presentations every November. Consequently I should have a good audience.
My Own WR122 Curriculum
I am in the process of revising the curriculum of one of the writing classes that I routinely teach (WR122), and have already incorporated into the course content that I learned while on the seminar. The course focuses on “Resolving International Conflict”, focusing on some of the longest, most entrenched struggles on the globe. One aspect of that course is looking at conflicts that erupt between minority populations and national governments, say, for example, between Kashmiris and Indians or The Kurds and Turks/Iranians/Iraqis. In contrast, Morocco seems like it might be a good model, a country that took different steps to make sure that its minority population (in this case the Berbers) was incorporated into the dominant culture, while still allowing for ethnic and cultural pride. Before this CIEE seminar, I did not know about Moroccan history, and thus couldn’t have provided my students with this example of a country that so far, at least, has taken positive steps to avoiding open conflict and civil strife.
Further Collaboration with Moroccan Faculty and Students
While I was in Morocco, I was quite fascinated by the interconnectedness of the Moroccan faculty. At the reception one night, many faculty members came and stayed for hours to talk with each of us one-on-one. In seminar, frequently professors attended their colleague’s lectures to participate in the ongoing dialogue. I found this sense of community quite compelling, and to be honest, something that my own institution often times lacks. While we at PCC are great at bridging the divide between student and employee, we sometimes stumble at bridging the gulf among faculty themselves, among student services and faculty, etc. For example, in the effort to Internationalize PCC, each steering committee member has an individual strong sense of how we can see positive change in our community, but I would argue we lack the skill or maybe even the will to form community. Instead, I often feel distrust, judgment and competitiveness come into play to such a degree as to affect our ability to work together. Consequently, I am interested in what Moroccan faculty can teach my institution about community-building and maintenance.
To further conversation about both community and education, Post-seminar I have been in contact with some of the faculty who were a part of the Moroccan part of the seminar (Specifically, Abdellatif Zaki, Abdeleslam Moudden and Rachida Kerkech), as well as some students who were also part of the experience (for example Abdelmajid Elsay and Adil Al Ghani).
Honestly, these conversations are difficult to maintain over e-mail. While I feel like I made some relatively strong connections (compared to my CIEE Turkey trip three years ago) with Moroccans during the nine or so days we were there, the visit was in the end quite short. I think a longer, deeper stay would allow for extended conversations, research and resources. Obviously, community is a strong value there … the need for interdependence. Is it possible then to nurture the same kind of community at Portland Community College? What would it take? I would like to return to focus on this problem more extensively than I was able to do on this CIEE trip.
After more than fifteen years at PCC, I know its strengths and weaknesses. As a faculty leader, I have reached an important crossroads, and I need to look inside myself to discover what it would take for me to step over the obstacles (self-imposed or otherwise) that exist when I sit down to do a great deal of work with my colleagues. On the journey of learning more about community and leadership, I am applying for a Fulbright Scholar Position to return to Morocco. These grants are competitive, and oddly enough, they have indicated that my Master’s degree (as opposed to a Ph.D.) may be a significant limiting factor. If I do not get the Fulbright, I then must confront how I will continue this journey. Do I try to forge ahead with the knowledge I gained in Morocco? What other opportunities exist if the Fulbright doesn’t work out?
What I talked about When I Applied for the Ping Scholarship
When I applied for the scholarship, I wrote about conducting a cohort where CIEE faculty can look at developing their curriculum with guidance and support. Before I left on the trip, at the start of spring term, I conducted workshops on all three campuses where in part, I gave a survey that asked questions about what attendees wanted and what they are willing to commit to as far as a cohort, further workshops, etc. Feedback I received is that they are open to learning more, but perhaps not on the scale that I had first envisioned.
In addition, structurally, at PCC much is changing and will continue to change in the next couple months in our Internationalization effort. To some degree, I need to see who will be in what position, and what our structure and leadership will be, before I decide how to proceed myself.
Muslim Students at Sylvania Campus
In the mean time, while I wait to see what will happen structurally, there are steps I can take. In the last three years, post-Turkey trip, I made it a point to attend three key events organized by a student group, The Muslim Students Association. One was a social event where people sat around, ate sweets and conversed. It was meant to encourage cross-cultural dialogue, although there was no evidence of such interaction. The other two events were better attended. One was a polemical report on “The Wall” in Palestine, and the other was a talk by a student who had converted to Islam from Christianity. At both events, I was one of the few faculty members present, and most attendees were either Muslims from our community or others I did not recognize. These events for several reasons were not that palatable for the average PCC student or employee, which is O.K. perhaps. All three events were organized out of the multicultural center.
On a parallel track, I feel I have worked well during this same time period with Muslim students who have taken my classes.
Now, I want to ask myself what has kept me from taking the next steps in becoming a faculty leader in this area. What “put me off” about the abovementioned events? (They did not feel like places where debate and discussion could actually transpire, for example.) And given what I experienced, what steps could I take to change the dynamic? Since I already have a relatively strong connection to the Multicultural Center, it seems like this is a good place to start the hard community-building that needs to be done.