In 2014, the Office of International Education at Harper College implemented its first 3-year cycle of interdisciplinary programs and area studies centered around a region of the world. Designed to strengthen undergraduate education in the area of the regional focus, the Global Focus initiative is marked by specific goals and a theme for each year. The first year features a professional development Faculty International Field Seminar, followed by a Visiting Faculty Lectureship in the second year, and student study abroad experiences to the Global Focus region in the third year.
The inaugural Faculty Seminar comprised an interdisciplinary group of 9 faculty who participated in a graduate equivalent course and then travelled to East Africa in May 2014. You can read our blog posts from that experience below. The group collaborated on curriculum infusion projects for their classes with colleagues at four regional universities. In the first year alone, these classroom infusion projects and programming impacted over 800 students. In the fall of our second year, Harper College hosted Prof. Jimrex Byamugisha of Makerere University as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. During his semester-long tenure at Harper, he gave 22 campus lectures, reaching some 600+ students. In our second and third years, students travelled to Zimbabwe and Uganda.
This year we launch our second Faculty International Field Seminar to our new Global Region of Focus, Latin America. For two weeks in May and June, a group of 13 faculty will travel to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Our group comprises faculty from Anthropology, Astronomy, Biology, Business, English, Geography, History, Humanities, Human Services, Radiology, Spanish, and Student services (counseling).
As in the case of the first iteration of the Faculty International GEC, participants have studied global learning outcomes and assessment techniques; reviewed effective study abroad design; acquired new competencies in contemporary socio-cultural, economic, and environmental issues in Central America; and evaluated assumptions, perceptions, and biases towards Central and Latin America in the United States, and their pedagogical and personal impacts. Using these competencies, the faculty will create curriculum projects for infusion in their classes in the fall semester. We will be reporting on our progress during the fall orientation week and again during International Education Week in November.
In the meantime, follow our adventure through our posts to this blog.