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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rethinking learning abroad

One of the recommendations of the CLA Task Force on Internationalization was to improve the learning abroad experience for CLA students. Faculty Director Michal Kobialka, Assistant Dean Nanette Hanks, and Education Abroad Program Director Tim Dohmen are leading this effort. They have been meeting with departments to discuss students’ current involvement in learning abroad, canvass interest in development of new opportunities that better align with the academic and experiential goals of the major, and explore how to prepare students academically so that they fully benefit from their learning abroad experience. In addition, they are seeking ways to incorporate research opportunities and projects between the exchanging institutions as part of the learning abroad experience, as well as increasing CLA faculty participation in learning abroad programs. The entire effort will be better publicized to students when CLA’s global portal -- another recommendation of the Task Force -- is online. The feedback from the Learning Abroad Center and the leadership of the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance has been highly supportive of these efforts, and the admittedly unscientific sample of students I have asked about these changes have indicated that these reforms will be welcomed and appreciated by students.