Effective teaching and ways to guide student research projects at off-campus study sites around the world will be among the topics explored at ACM’s annual Program Directors and Visiting Faculty Conference in Chicago on June 4-6, 2012.
“The overall theme of this year’s conference is intentionality in all aspects of student learning on our off-campus programs, both international and in the U.S.,” said Carol Dickerman, ACM Director of International Study Programs. “Whether it’s in the students’ courses, their independent research projects, or immersion in the local culture, we want to give faculty and students the tools to enhance teaching and learning.”
A student with her rural host family in Costa Rica.
Workshops and presentations focused on intercultural learning, student health, and supervising on-site staff, along with roundtable discussions, program updates, and networking, will complete the conference agenda.
“When you’re teaching off campus, you don’t have the kind of support that would be available on an ACM campus, such as a teaching and learning center, faculty colleagues, or student life staff,” Dickerman noted. “The conference helps provide that type of support.”
The conference will open with a discussion for participants to give updates from the program sites and share ideas for using “place” – whether the program is based in India, Florence, Chicago, or anywhere else – as a key ingredient in the pedagogy and curriculum.
A session led by William Divane (Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of Health & Wellness at Lake Forest College) will address issues surrounding students’ health and wellness on off-campus programs, with an emphasis on health concerns most likely to arise at the ACM program locations. A Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Divane’s clinical experience includes work with a variety of multicultural populations.
Helping students understand a new culture will be the focus of a workshop with Matthew Kuehl, the Program Manager for AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in Egypt. AMIDEAST is the local partner for the new ACM Middle East program in Jordan that will start up in fall 2013.
On the Botswana Program, students presented the results of their independent study projects at a poster session this spring.
Photo courtesy of Firas Suqi
“Kuehl and his colleagues at AMIDEAST’s Cairo program have developed activities that they use to facilitate students’ understanding of culture and, more importantly, to get students to think intentionally about how they interact with people in another country and what those interactions mean,” Dickerman said.
“We talk about cultural immersion, but it’s not enough to just take students to a program site and expect the culture to seep into them,” she continued. “That sort of passive approach is limited. We will talk about providing students with some analytical skills that they can apply to understand what’s going on around them and to have a better off-campus experience.”
Several faculty members will lead sessions on academic components of ACM study abroad programs. Macalester College geology professor Karl Wirth, who served twice as the Visiting Faculty Director of the ACM Tanzania Program, will offer a workshop on teaching at program sites and how that differs from teaching on campus.
Wirth will be joined for a workshop on teaching research designs and methods by David Schodt, a professor of economics at St. Olaf College, Lawrence University anthropology professor Peter Peregrine, who was the ACM India Program’s Faculty Coordinating Representative last fall, and Chris Vaughan, Director of the ACM Costa Rica Programs.
“Independent projects are an important component of the curriculum in a number of ACM programs,” said Dickerman, “and we’ll be thinking about common approaches to guiding students through the projects. The presenters will outline the type of content important for a research design and methods course in an off-campus program.”
Students working on their field practicum projects in Tanzania.
Photo courtesy of Bruce Roberts
The two teaching workshops will be followed by a session on ethical research standards for students to follow in their independent projects. Peregrine and Beloit College psychology professor Greg Buchanan will lead a discussion about local review boards, consisting of the on-site program director and other individuals knowledgeable about the research process and local cultural values, that ACM is establishing at program sites where students conduct research.
“In the same way that we teach students about proper research methodology to use in the field, we need to teach them about ways to conduct their projects that are ethical and culturally appropriate, especially when research involves human subjects,” Dickerman said.
The conference will conclude with a session on staff leadership for several of the resident ACM program directors led by Patricia Moten Marshall, President of SynerChange Chicago and an adjunct faculty member for the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and Loyola University Chicago.
“The conference brings together a lot of perspectives – faculty from the ACM colleges, resident staff at the program sites, and local professors who teach on the off-campus programs,” said Dickerman. “It’s really a way to help build a bridge between students’ learning on their home campuses and their learning and experiences on off-campus programs.”
Program staff and visiting faculty participating in the conference include:
Sonja Darlington (Education, Beloit College), Faculty Program Director, Spring 2013
Robyne Hart, Program Director
Mary Scott-Boria, Faculty
Dorothy Burge, Faculty & Internship Coordinator
Christopher Vaughan, Program Director
Mario Morera, Spanish Language Coordinator
Jodie Mariotti, Florence Programs Director
Sarah Kraaz (Music, Ripon College), Affiliated Scholar, Fall 2012
Brian Baugh (Art, Monmouth College), Affiliated Scholar in Florence, Spring 2013
Mark Muggli (English, Luther College), Visiting Faculty Director in London, Spring 2013
Sucheta Paranjpe, Program Director
Hermant Apte, Faculty & Academic Coordinator
Farhat Haq (Political Science, Monmouth College), Faculty Coordinating Representative, Fall 2012
Gary DeCoker (Earlham College), Program Director
Carol Enns (Psychology, Cornell College), Resident Director, Academic year 2012-13
Brian Bockelman (History, Ripon College), Faculty Fellow, Fall 2012
David Miller (English, Allegheny College), Faculty Fellow, Fall 2012
Emily (Molly) Margaretten (Anthropology, Ripon College), Faculty Program Director, Fall 2012
• ACM off-campus study programs
• Article on “ACM To Launch New Off-Campus Program in the Middle East in Fall 2013”