Feb 022003
 
Authors: Amy Resseguie

The International Development Studies Faculty Mentoring Program at CSU received a prestigious award early last week in New York City.

The Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education is given annually to schools that strive to increase international education.

Alicia Cook, professor of human development and family studies, and Martha Denney, director of International Education, submitted CSU’s program, which was an Honorable Mention in 2002.

As part of the award, the faculty mentoring program won $1,000 and will be featured in IIE Networker magazine’s spring 2003 edition. The program will also be recognized as one of the best in the international education field.

CSU’s program pairs faculty members with existing international development projects, where they spend two to three weeks learning about that particular international project, Denney said.

Participating faculty typically travel in pairs, beginning in 2000, to places like Azerbaijan, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Kenya and Tanzania.

They observe and assist in various activities such as conducting science workshops, designing needs assessment materials for an AIDS orphan project and providing consultation for gender studies curriculum.

The project also integrates faculty development with curriculum enhancement in many academic departments and creates international internships for students.

“Part of the commitment (to participate) is to identify a course to revise or develop infusing it with international content,” Cook said.

Some faculty choose to revise an existing class by using various “issue-focused case studies, where students had to do a lot of research and critical thinking to address the case,” Cook said.

Others choose to develop a new course to teach. Mary Vogl, a foreign language professor, taught a course on issues of development through African cinema after traveling to the Open University of Tanzania.

“We saw what sorts of things they were doing with distance education … and talked with them about where they want to go with other technologies such as computers and software,” Vogl said.

Vogl said she is very glad to have had the opportunity to participate in the faculty mentoring program.

“Before I was called to be a part of (the program), I had been to Africa and had been curious about some of the issues, but I didn’t really know what international development studies had to offer,” she said. “But now I’m very excited to bring this opportunity to students.”

Currently eight faculty members are preparing to participate in the program next year. One of the current goals is to help younger faculty to gain international experience.

“Many faculty who have had international experience are now retiring, and we really need faculty who understand what international studies are about,” Denney said.

Cook hopes that winning the Heiskell Award will help the program, which is currently funded by federal grants, to receive institutional funding so that it can continue.

“The Heiskell Award gives great visibility to the project and to what we learned,” she said. “Ultimately we want to be able to share that with other campuses.”

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