Global Learning: A World of Opportunity for Appalachian Students
Targeted Programs to Serve as Models of Global Learning
Appalachian has either started or will soon launch a number of pilot global learning programs, which feature high-impact instructional practices and/or innovative uses of technologies, such as internships, travel, international videoconferencing, student research, and service-learning. We will nurture these initiatives, institutionalize them, and use them as models to create additional courses and curricular learning opportunities across the university. We have initially targeted a set of opportunities and courses, but we remain open to incorporating new ideas that emerge over the course of the QEP.
Pre-Health International Experience
In 2012, Appalachian started two Pre-health International programs on a pilot scale with institutional partners in Bloemfontein (South Africa) and Puebla (Mexico). The QEP will expand this program by substantially increasing the number of opportunities for students to do pre-health internships in India, Brazil, and other counties. Students will spend four weeks abroad in the summer learning how different countries provide clinical education, clinical outreach, and clinical practice. In addition to current areas of clinical experience offered in medical, dental, nutrition, biomedical research, and sports medicine; new areas will be developed and added including public health, communications disorders, and psychological counseling. We intend soon to double the number of students involved this program.
International Student Research
Undergraduate student research is a high-impact educational practice that is one of our institutional priorities. It encourages students to extend themselves beyond structured course material to become independent thinkers and learners who creatively apply skills to benefit society and the world. The Office of Student Research, established in 2005, offers research and faculty-mentored scholarship opportunities and has provided funding for more than thirty students to conduct international research. Through the QEP, the student research program will be expanded by at least ten students per year. Additionally, faculty will be encouraged to mentor students and include them in externally funded international research projects.
US-Based Global Internships
Not all of Appalachian students can or will participate in education abroad experiences, so we must offer opportunities for students to enhance their global awareness through specialized study in the United States. Various campus offices, such as the Career Development Center, academic programs, and Office of International Education and Development (OIED), will collaborate to develop internationally-focused internships with local, state, and federal organizations and private enterprises.
Through the QEP, we will expand to more countries Appalachian's International Community Development Initiative (ICDI) and recruit more students to participate. Appalachian has developed partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Peru, and South Africa, which allow for both student and faculty involvement via service-based internships and community-based research. Through these opportunities Appalachian students and faculty have the opportunity to serve with NGOs that work with diverse populations and on different issues. More than 15 Appalachian students have participated in international service-learning and our goal is to increase the number of students participating in the ICDI activities.
Short-Term Study Abroad for First-Year Students
This builds on a highly successful 2010 initiative, in which Appalachian faculty took incoming freshmen to study in Costa Rica. The revised Appalachian Costa Rica First Year Experience now locates the study abroad experience at the end of the first year, and we are now ready to expand upon the pilot to include other countries. We will develop two or three faculty-led, integrated classes linked to a General Education theme and recruit at least twenty (total) students annually. We aim to have a significant number of first-year students who participate in a short-term, faculty- led, study abroad program later participate in a semester- or year-long study abroad.
First Year Seminar Global Understandings
First Year Seminar is a high-impact educational practice. The course is required for all incoming freshmen and many transfer students. Developed partly through a UNC System grant to catalyze contacts with
the People's Republic of China, Global Understandings is an interdisciplinary course in intercultural communication, which connects a class of Appalachian students with classes in China, Taiwan, and Thailand through fifteen or more interactive
videoconferencing sessions. Students also undertake projects, such as mini-ethnographies, that promote critical thinking, research skills, and writing skills. Through the QEP, we plan to expand the program to other classes on campus and other countries.
We expect faculty members and other individuals engaged in model programs to share their practices with others on campus to inspire different academic units to customize elements to fit their missions and circumstances. For instance, the Pre-Health International Experience program can serve as a template for academic programs that emphasize internships abroad, and The First Year Seminar Global Understandings can help others find ways to use technologies to connect with international partners.