Title

It starts with a Journey: Study-abroad as Catalyst for Building Multicultural Competencies.

Conference Strand

Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Abstract

As part of Agnes Scott College’s Summit program all first-year students take a required global learning course that includes a one-week faculty-led study abroad experience. In preparation for this travel experience, students engage in a series of intentional reflection activities centering on identity and multicultural understanding. The presenters will give an overview of the program and discuss several case studies.

Description

Developing multicultural competencies and facilitating dialog across complex identity constructions are central to the global learning aspect of Agnes Scott’s SUMMIT initiative, which connects the college’s general education curriculum with campus-wide co-curricular programs. Students begin their learning in Global Journeys, a semester-long, 4-credit course required of all first-year students. All sixteen sections of the course feature a one-week, faculty-led global immersion experience in the middle of the semester. Taught by professors from across the college, this course forms an entry portal into how liberal arts learning lends itself to building multicultural skills. While faculty bring their respective disciplinary approaches to each section, the overall course structure builds on four common interdisciplinary topical clusters that create cohesion across all sections: identity/culture; imperialism/colonialism/diaspora; globalization; ethics of travel. With the various sections addressing topics and sites as varied as Music and Identity in the Navajo Nation, Cultural and Political Crossroads in Central Europe, and Arts and Political Resistance in Chile, the common topics prompt faculty to address how imperialist and colonialist legacies shape the manifestation of globalization with regard to particular sites and course themes. Students engage in a diverse array of reflection activities before, during, and after traveling. Upon return, students meet with peers from other Journeys sections and discuss how they engaged with the common topics in the various locations. For instance, students who traveled to the Navajo Nation, to Chile, and to Central Europe will thus discuss aspects the meaning of multicultural approaches from the perspective of colonized and metropolitan perspectives. Films, panels, and opportunities for political advocacy opportunities broaden students’ understanding of these complex topics. The presenters will give an overview of the program, briefly discuss two case studies from the curricular and co-curricular areas, and then welcome questions or other pedagogical examples from participants.

Evidence

Agnes Scott's global learning program won the 2019 Heiskell Award for scholarly innovation, awarded by the Institute for International Education (https://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Insights/Best-Practices-Resource/Award-Winners/Faculty-Programs/Agnes-Scott-College-2019). U.S. News And World Report voted the program as "most innovative first-year program" two years in a row (2018-19 and 2019-20). Panelists will present sample syllabi, student work, and assessment data from the five years this program has been in operation. The data and samples will be discussed in context of existing literature of global learning.

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Gundolf Graml is Assistant Dean for Global Learning and Professor of German Studies at Agnes Scott College. In addition to overseeing Agnes Scott's Center for Global Learning, Graml designs and teaches faculty-led study abroad courses to places such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Peru. In his current role he also creates and facilitates annual faculty-development workshops on curricular planning, risk management, and inclusive teaching for faculty-led courses. Graml has presented numerous papers and published articles on the historical connections between tourism and national identity as well as on Austrian and German film. He has shared his experience in the areas of study abroad and curricular planning at national and international conferences such as NAFSA, AACU, AIEA, and WISE.

Elaine Meyer-Lee, associate vice president for global learning and leadership development at Agnes Scott College, holds a doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard and a master’s in counseling psychology from Lesley. She has led, taught in, assessed, and published and presented widely on intercultural, leadership, and diversity/inclusion higher education for over 17 years. She has received grants including a Fulbright in France, and has served on numerous national boards including as immediate past President of NAFSA.

Location

Session Two Breakouts: Hampton B

Start Date

2-7-2020 1:00 PM

End Date

2-7-2020 2:15 PM

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Feb 7th, 1:00 PM Feb 7th, 2:15 PM

It starts with a Journey: Study-abroad as Catalyst for Building Multicultural Competencies.

Session Two Breakouts: Hampton B

As part of Agnes Scott College’s Summit program all first-year students take a required global learning course that includes a one-week faculty-led study abroad experience. In preparation for this travel experience, students engage in a series of intentional reflection activities centering on identity and multicultural understanding. The presenters will give an overview of the program and discuss several case studies.