International Education in the 21st Century: The Importance of Faculty in Developing Study Abroad Research Opportunities

  • Todd Giedt
  • Gigi Gokcek
  • Jayati Ghosh
Keywords: STEM, Study abroad, Faculty, Research, Short-term programs

Abstract

United States institutions of higher education are under increasing pressure to “internationalize”, which entails expanding curricula to overseas contexts, accepting international students, and sending significant numbers of Americans to study abroad. Despite such initiatives, as well as its assumed value in the undergraduate curriculum, less than ten percent of U.S. students currently study abroad, with STEM participation traditionally lagging behind that of social sciences and humanities students. Unfortunately, study abroad enrollments have not expanded in the desired magnitude(s), despite the explosion of shorter-term programming. With this in mind, what kinds of programs might leverage STEM disciplinary research interests to facilitate growth in these majors? How would these programs distinguish themselves from traditional ones, which are usually course-based? And finally, how would they incorporate STEM faculty to ensure that they are sufficiently integrated into the curricula? This paper argues that a reimagining of study abroad programming may be necessary – one that begins and ends with local disciplinary faculty, especially those in the STEM (sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, to develop undergraduate study abroad research opportunities. In doing so, it asserts that STEM disciplinary interests towards internationalization are fundamentally different than faculty in the humanities and the social sciences, and it is necessary to leverage these distinctions to create high-quality undergraduate programs oriented towards research. The argument is supported with examples from several University of California campuses and some private universities.

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Author Biographies

Todd Giedt

Todd Giedt is the Associate Director of the System-wide Academic Senate at the University of California Office of the President. He has an MA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. His expertise includes international education, graduate education, and faculty governance. He is also the senior analyst for the University of California faculty Committee on International Education, and has several years of experience at the UC Education Abroad Program Office at Santa Barbara.

Gigi Gokcek

Dr. Gigi Gokcek is a political scientist at Dominican University of California. She has an MA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, an MA and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She teaches undergraduate courses in international relations and comparative politics. Her research interests include internationalization of ethnic conflicts, irredentist and secessionist movements, security and development issues, as well as active learning in political science and international studies.

Jayati Ghosh

Dr. Jayati Ghosh is a Professor in Barowsky School of Business at Dominican University of California.  Her research interests include economic development, health issues in Africa particularly in South Africa and Malawi, and SMEs in BRIC economies. She has presented her research at national and international conferences and published extensively.

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Published
2015-11-11
How to Cite
Giedt, T., Gokcek , G., & Ghosh , J. (2015). International Education in the 21st Century: The Importance of Faculty in Developing Study Abroad Research Opportunities. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 26(1), 167-186. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v26i1.365
Section
Research Articles