SLP Workshop Addresses Innovative Pedagogy in a Digital Age

IMG_1923Colleagues from 7 GLCA institutions met for a weeklong GLCA Crossroads Shared Languages Program (SLP) workshop at Denison University.

Arabic colleagues Hanada Al-Masri (Denison), Kelly Tuttle (Earlham) and Basem Al-Rabba (Oberlin), German colleagues Lee Forester (Hope), Elizabeth Hamilton (Oberlin), S. Marina Jones (Oberlin) and Gabriele Dillmann (Denison), Japanese colleague Noriko Sugimori (Kalamazoo), Spanish colleagues Teresa Herrera (Allegheny) and Marta Sierra (Kenyon), our GLCA colleague Simon Gray (Program Officer), and our colleague Cheryl Johnson, Instructional Technologist at Denison, collaborated to discuss sustainable solutions for the challenges the languages are facing and how the SLP is positioned to address those.

IMG_1959

Gabriele, GLCA Consortial Languages Director, organized and led this workshop, assisted by Denison’s Arabic professor Hanada Al-Masri, with the idea that community building and collective brainstorming are primary for the success of our inter-institutional collaboration. Invaluable new ideas and inspired thoughts intensified the discussions and produced results that will no doubt strengthen the Shared Languages Program and garner wider appeal in the near future as it addresses contemporary issues in pedagogies and the status quo of language programs under pressure.

Some of the highlights of the SLP are: 

Great benefits for students who

  • have special needs, learning disabilities, or require accommodations beyond what a traditional classroom environment can offer
  • want to continue with their studies beyond the first or second year language courses offered at their home campus (e.g. Arabic, Russian, Japanese)
  • want or need to learn a language not offered in their home institution such as Hebrew or Russian (in the near future)
  • need to double up to complete their major or minor but experience a lack of courses to choose from at their home campus
  • have run out of options of courses to take on their home campus, especially for their major
  • need to take a directed studies because of under-enrollment in an upper level course
  • have a time conflict with the course offering at their own college and default to their major often leading to dropping their language studies altogether
  • need to take a directed studies because of lack of course course offerings, which often becomes a chronic situation
  • have a particular subject interest that no one program could accommodate 
  • would like to benefit from a global course connections course component
  • are interested in exploring new pedagogies with digital technologies in a virtually interactive environment 
  • are not able to go study abroad but would like to meet new people with similar interests outside of their very small language program
  • eventually with the success of the SLP may minor or major in a language that currently offers no minor or major (best example: Arabic)
  • learn more than the language itself, e.g. communicate effectiveness, dialog etiquette, digital etiquette, intercultural communication, participation as a member of a learning community

Benefits for faculty who 

  • are one-man or one-woman programs and miss having a like-minded colleague for the exchange of ideas and concerns
  • are concerned about under-enrolled classes and fear of cancellation
  • with the advantages the SLP affords may be able to expand their (Arabic) program to a minor or major even with one home institution factually member
  • wish to expand their facility with digital pedagogies
  • seek professional development that no one campus can offer
  • want to join the discussion on ways to address the future of our discipline
  • wish to teach a course outside of their language program but “cannot get away”
  • have numerous directed studies students due to some of the reasons mentioned above (usually without any compensation)
  • are limited or at a loss on how they can accommodate students with certain disabilities to help them learn

The following important discussion points in terms of our rapidly changing teaching and learning environment in the age of digital pedagogies encompass the following affordances and challenges for the SLP and beyond:

  • broader flexibility for student learning addressing differences in proficiencies and pace in a digitally enhanced classroom
  • addressing learning disabilities such as limited sight, hearing, or mobility limitations with technologies in the digital teaching and learning environment
  • rethinking grades and grading in digital learning communities
  • enhanced schedule neutrality, e.g. negotiating variances in semester and quarter system campuses from one institution to the next; allowing for religious holidays
  • greater credit hour flexibility, e.g. half course vs. full course for students who wish to continue practicing their language skills but cannot take a full course due to other academic commitments
  • offering beginning level language instruction for lesser taught languages (Arabic)
  • student learning communities across institutional boundaries
  • rethinking task and testing design; e.g. proficiency-based assessment strategies
  • rethinking “academic dishonesty” in a digital environment and turning the negative into a positive by integrating “cheating” strategies as learning opportunities with new pedagogies
  • keeping students connected to their home campuses
  • enhancing the role of the home campus mentor
  • optimizing teaching and learning strategies for an ever-changing student body and culture in our technology-driven world
  • building bridges between the generational culture of teachers and the generational culture of students
  • preparing our students professionally for the digitally progressed learning and teaching environment of the next younger student generation whose teacher they will be
  • increased interoperability, e.g. standardization, undercutting silo effects; e.g.: standardizing learning Arabic via the Integrated Approach; teaching German with a balanced approach of structure/grammar, natural acquisition, and culture)
  • SLP as a useful partner for other on-campus programs (e.g., international studies) that require language and cultural knowledge of regions outside of the US
  • post-grant compensation and reward structures and models; e.g. course release time for research by sharing students; time vs. pay

One radical idea that came up, I wish to highlight separately:

In the (near) future could we conceive of GLCA institutionalized language schools, that is, one GLCA school may specialize in/will be the locus of a certain language such as e.g. Russian or Hebrew with students taking these courses remotely from any of the other GLCA schools? 

The workshop also featured an overview of digital tools for language pedagogy as well as several sessions of hands-on training to learn how to effectively use these applications and expand existing facilities with digital technologies. These tools and their application in language teaching and learning will be discussed in a separate article and posted to the SLP website.

For more information or to express your interest in the Shared Languages Program please contact Gabriele Dillmann [dillmann@denison.edu] or use the message box below.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shared Languages Program Workshop Invitation

Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_(Vienna)_-_Google_Art_ProjectAll language colleagues currently teaching in one of our GLCA institutions who have an interest in or are curious about the Crossroads Shared Languages Program, its purpose, pedagogy, and technology are invited to join our SLP workshop offered at Denison University from May 22 to 26, 2017.

Colleagues from all levels of employment are welcome to attend.

If you cannot attend for the entire workshop, part-time stipends are available. The stipend for the entire workshop is $500 or $125 per day. All travel, meals, and accommodation costs are covered by the grant for our pilot program.

Please see here for detailed information on the schedule, accommodations, and REGISTRATION.

Please contact Gabriele Dillmann at dillmann@GLCA.org for questions and/or to express your interest.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call for Proposals PAMLA 2017

I would like to invite colleagues engaged in Shared Language Courses initiatives to submit a proposal for a session on the topic of course sharing in the languages that I am organizing for the 2017 Pacific and Asian Modern Languages Association Conference.

115th Annual Conference – Honolulu, Hawaii

Friday, November 10 – Sunday, November 12, 2017

New Paths to Old Problems: Innovative Cures for Atrophying Language Programs

Presiding Officer: 

Gabriele Dillmann, Denison University/GLCA

Language departments across the country struggle to keep their programs afloat during times of critical budget cuts that increasingly force our institutions’ administrations to reconsider the sustainability of programs with chronically under-enrolled upper levels and courses in less commonly taught languages. This session aims to bring together practitioners who have been reflecting upon and instituting alternative paths to preserve and/or expand our language offerings in innovative, viable ways.

Information on how to submit: http://pamla.org/2017/topic-areas

Please note that you need to be a PAMLA member by no later than July 15. They offer a combined membership and registration option, which is really quite reasonable.

Proposal Submission Deadline: MAY 21st, 2017. Proposal Submission Form.

Inquiries: dillmann@denison.edu or dillmann@glca.edu

Posted in Digital_Liberal_Arts, GLCA Shared Language Courses Initiative, Pedagogical, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shared Language Courses Fall 2017

With student course enrollments for Fall 2017 on the way, we would like to invite our GLCA colleagues and students in Arabic and German to consider an expansion of course selection options via the GLCA Crossroads Shared Languages Program.

Shared Language Program courses (SLP) courses are especially attractive to students who 

  • want to continue with their studies of Arabic beyond first or second year courses offered at their home campus
  • need to double up to complete their German major or minor
  • have run out of options of courses to take for their major
  • need to take a directed studies because of under-enrollment in a German upper level course
  • have a time conflict with the course offering at their own college
  • have run out of options of courses to take at their home institution
  • need to take a directed studies because of lack of course course offerings
  • have a particular subject interest that no one program could accommodate 
  • would like to benefit from a global course connections course component
  • are interested in exploring new pedagogies with digital technologies in a virtually interactive environment 
  • are not able to go study abroad but would like to meet new people with similar interests 
  • eventually with the success of the SLP may minor or major in Arabic
  • and more..

This program also has great benefits for faculty who 

  • are one-man or one-woman programs and miss having a like-minded colleague for the exchange of ideas and concerns
  • are concerned about under-enrolled classes and fear of cancellation
  • with the advantages the SLP affords may be able to expand their Arabic program to a minor or major even with one home institution factually member
  • wish to expand their facility with digital pedagogies
  • seek professional development that no one campus can offer
  • want to join the discussion on ways to address the future of our discipline
  • wish to teach a course outside of their language program but “cannot get away”
  • have numerous directed studies students due to some of the reasons mentioned above (usually without any compensation)
  • and much more

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 3.42.25 PMThis semester, we are able to offer two SLP courses in Arabic and two in German. Our Arab colleagues from Denison University and Earlham College, Dr. Hanada Al-Masri, respectively Dr. Kelly Tuttle  are offering a language course on the intermediate level and an Arabic writing course.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 4.05.21 PM

For German, Dr. Lee Forester  is offering a course in German Linguistics and I  will teach a course on Germany’s Young Generation. All pertinent information can be found here. 

The course enrollment process is simple with the respective registrars having contributed significantly to design a smooth experience for both students and faculty. All the information you and your interested students will need, can be found on this website page, please scroll all the way down. 

First pilot semester student feedback results are very encouraging. (Full results are available, please ask.) All students found all aspects of the courses very “doable”, “engaging”, many also “exciting”. They all enjoy meeting other students with similar interests and especially appreciate the added diversity of both students and instructors. They are learning important inter-cultural lessons and can better apply technological skills in the academic environment and beyond. 

There are no specific technology requirements. All students will need is a computer with a built-in camera (or plug in a webcam), a quiet, well-lit place to sit, and a stable internet connection. The SLP instructors will provide your students with a course orientation that addresses all technology aspects. 

Colleagues who serve as on-campus advisors for students participating in a SLP course will receive a stipend. Likewise, if you chose to offer a SLP course yourself, there will be compensation from the GLCA SLP Mellon grant. 

Please also look out for an announcement for a SLP workshop for anybody who is interested on any level of engagement that will take place at Denison University from May 21 (evening dinner) to May 25th (midday). 

And finally, the most important feature of this program is that we are offering our students a wider range of possibilities to stay engaged in the language and culture they chose to study. 

Please let me know how our SLP team can assist you with any further questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you. 

The GLCA expresses its appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Lee Forester (Hope), Dr. Hanada Al-Masri (Denison), Dr. Kelly Tuttle (Earlham), and (almost Dr.) Basem Al-Rabaa (Oberlin) for their pioneering work and open-minded spirit! 

Posted in Digital Pedagogy, GLCA Shared Language Courses Initiative, Higher Education, Pedagogical, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Course Sharing Symposium at Columbia

Course Sharing for Sustainable Programs Symposium

Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15, 2017 at Columbia University in New York City

Everybody is welcome to attend for free! Please  RSVP here.

Course Sharing for Sustainable Programs Webpage

Course Sharing for Sustainable Programs is a two-day symposium that brings together administrators and language professionals from across the country to discuss emerging models of course sharing and curricular collaboration. These models offer expanded learning opportunities to students, as well new paths to institutional viability and sustainability for a wide range of programs. Although the symposium focuses primarily on the teaching of languages, it also showcases a number of projects that promote multi-institutional collaborative partnerships in other disciplines. In every case, due consideration will be accorded to the full range of administrative, pedagogical, and technological factors that shape each particular collaborative environment, as there are specific benefits and challenges that must be considered in order to select an appropriate model for a given context (from the CS webpage).

The symposium website also provides links to the various institutions in course sharing partnerships and their initiatives. For example, you will learn about the Columbia, Yale, Cornell partnership and how together they can offer many lesser-taught languages with new technologies that one institution alone could not provide.

As director of the Great Lakes Colleges Association Crossroads Shared Languages Program for GLCA’s 13 consortial institutions, I will be presenting on our four-year long pilot project that aims to address the issue of upper-level under-enrolled language courses as well as broadening the course offerings for lesser-taught languages. We currently have courses in Arabic and German in collaboration with Allegheny, Hope, Earlham, and Denison. This fall, we will offer another palette of engaging courses.

This symposium is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Teaching and Integrating International Students

WASHINGTON – What would international students in American classrooms most want their professors to do differently?

A survey of 662 international students at 23 colleges and universities commissioned by ELS Educational Services found that many international students want their professors to:

  • Provide more feedback (35 percent identified this as a desired improvement from among a given list of choices).
  • Seek to understand international students’ perspectives (33 percent).
  • Make classroom materials available after class (32 percent).
  • Provide examples of completed assignments (32 percent).
  • Provide non-U.S. examples in course contents (28 percent).

One caveat for the above numbers is that nearly 12 percent of students in the sample were native English speakers, so their presence in the sample could have skewed some of the overall figures in various ways. For example, 22 percent of all respondents said they’d like their professor to speak more slowly or clearly, while 32 percent of Chinese respondents did.

The sample was nearly evenly split between undergraduates (52 percent) and graduate students (48 percent). The most common classroom challenges identified by the students who were surveyed were: too many writing assignments (65 percent said this was a challenge), too much reading (cited as a challenge by 63 percent of respondents), writing in English (56 percent), participating in class presentations (56 percent), the perceived preferential treatment of native speakers (56 percent), participating in class discussions (56 percent) and professors’ lack of understanding of their culture (50 percent).

More than a third of students — 35 percent — said they felt uncomfortable questioning the opinions of their professors, 30 percent said they felt uncomfortable questioning the opinion of their peers, and 29 percent said they felt uncomfortable speaking in class discussions (the latter proportion was higher among Chinese students, 38 percent of whom said they felt uncomfortable). Nearly a quarter of respondents — 24 percent — said they felt uncomfortable interacting with American students.

Mark W. Harris, the president emeritus of ELS, presented on the findings of the survey during a session Tuesday at the Association of International Education Administrators  annual conference focused on how faculty can “bridge divides” and integrate international students in the classroom. The number of international students in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past 10 years and now exceeds 1 million, representing about 5 percent of the total student population, according to data from the Institute of International Education.

Recruiting international students was the number one priority for university internationalization identified by institutions who responded to the American Council on Education’s 2016 survey on mapping campuswide internationalization, which the association conducts every five years. In presenting a preview of some of the 2016 data – a full report on the survey is scheduled to be released this spring — Robin Matross Helms, the director of ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, said that one key finding is that there’s been a “backtracking” in terms of support for internationalization-focused faculty development opportunities from the 2011 to 2016 surveys. The percentage of responding colleges and universities that reported offering these kinds of opportunities was lower in 2016 than in 2011.

About a quarter of institutions report offering workshops for faculty on teaching and integrating international students — “my response was, wow, only a quarter?” Helms said.

“If we’re not providing faculty with that professional development support, that’s definitely a worrisome trend,” Helms said.

Darla K. Deardorff, AIEA’s executive director and an adjunct research scholar at Duke University’s education program, described the different forms faculty development can take – retreats, discussion working groups, invited speakers, faculty panel presentations – with common topics being things like: “classroom challenges for international students,” “moving beyond stereotypes and assumptions,” “integrating non-Western perspectives into what is taught,” “communicating with international students,” “creating a supportive classroom environment,” “learning styles in different cultures,” “understanding classroom behavior,” and “interculturally competent teaching.”

Deardorff also shared recommendations to faculty international students have made in various focus groups she’s conducted with them. Recommendations include:

  • to focus on the professor-student relationship
  • to understand what students are used to (and not to assume)
  • to be very clear on expectations and to provide examples
  • to pay attention to underperforming students
  • to be intentional about connecting domestic and international students in the classroom
  • to not single out international students (by asking, say, “you’re from Australia, what do Australians think of this?”)
  • to connect students with various campus resources available, such as the writing center
  • to use examples from students’ home countries.

“A lot of this we know, but it’s nice to hear it reaffirmed by the students,” Deardorff said.

Posted in CLAC, Higher Education, International Students, Pedagogical, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Germany

Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Germany

refugees-daad-e1487176328354DAAD has been developing various programs in collaboration with universities and partner organisations to promote the integration of refugees at German universities. The overarching goal is to strengthen the potential of academically qualified refugees and provide them with access to higher education in Germany. More than half of the refugees arriving in Germany are younger than 25 – in other words, an age when education is most needed. With funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), DAAD has developed a set of targeted measures to enable universities to offer those who wish to study and possess sufficient academic qualification access to higher education.

Approximately 100 million euros in funding will be available in the coming years, 27 million euros of which is earmarked for projects in 2016. With funding from the BMBF, DAAD has developed an extensive package of long-term measures. This website gives an overview of the measures implemented according to these three pillars.

In addition to the overarching measures developed by the German government, DAAD, and the universities, many individuals on campus – from students to professors – are volunteering their time to assist refugees in navigating higher education in Germany.

NPR/WEMU recently portrayed a German professor as an example of how members of academe in Germany are taking the initiative and doing what they can to help. Listen to the report or read the article summarizing the interview here.

From: DAAD New York Newsletter, Feb 21st, 2017

Posted in Higher Education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Denison Language and Culture House

Denison Students: would you like to live in an exciting, culturally-diverse environment, get to practice your language skills and make new friends from many different cultures? Then the Preston Language and Culture House is right for you!

Hurry though, spots are limited and the application deadline is coming up quickly: March 1st!

Like our Denison University – Modern Languages Facebook page and you can see all of our Language and Culture Program events, which you Denisonians are welcome to join! https://www.facebook.com/denisonmodernlang/

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-2-49-32-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-17-at-2-49-48-pm

Language House Brochure 2017 (pdf)

Posted in Pedagogical, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Effect of Trump’s Immigration Ban on Higher Education

Trump’s immigration ban: Will it undercut American soft power?

Jason Lane, University at Albany, State University of New York

The Trump administration moved over the weekend to ban all immigration from seven Muslim nations, including stopping the entry of students and scholars with valid study and work visas from those countries.

A large number of students come to study in the United States from these nations: Iran ranks 11th on the list of countries that send students to the United States. Iraq and Syria participate in a student leaders program supported by the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative. The program brings students to the U.S. to “expand their understanding of civil society, as well as the democratic process and how both may be applied in their home communities.”

Iraq also has an active Fulbright program – an international exchange program meant to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange.”

As a scholar of international education, I have seen the impact of American higher education abroad. While conducting field research in the United Arab Emirates on development of American branch campuses in the Middle East, I was struck by the response of the residents after George Mason University closed its UAE-based campus in 2009.

The setting up of the university campus was heralded as an expansion of American values overseas, and its closure was viewed as an example of “America withdrawing its support” for the region. I was asked, “Why did America choose to pull out of the region?”

In a region where higher education institutions are largely controlled by the government, it was difficult to explain that it was a decision of a single institution, not of the American government.

The fact is that over the decades America has made considerable investments in building goodwill around the world through higher education exchange efforts. Evident in the responses of the people in UAE was how the action of a single institution could erode those sentiments.

So, what might Trump’s ban mean for the U.S. role in international education? And will it undermine the use of international higher education as a soft power tool for the United States?

A soft power tool?

First, let’s look at the role higher education has played in expanding American influence and in building stronger relationships between nations.

In 1945, Senator William Fulbright from Arkansas sponsored a bill to fund a program to support “international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.”

A statue of Senator William Fulbright at the University of Arkansas.
Clinton Steeds, CC BY

Today, the Fulbright program is probably the most widely recognized initiative in the world supporting international exchange, facilitating the movement of more than 360,000 students and scholars across more than 160 countries during its history. Its value is more symbolic – it represents the United States’ view about how international education can support democracy and encourage positive relationships between nations.

The free flow of students and scholars has served well the interests of the United States, including students from those with differing ideologies.

One of the most famous alumni of the Fulbright program was Russian student Alexander Yakovlev, who came to the U.S. to study at Columbia University in 1958 – the period of the Cold War. That same person would return to the USSR to become a close ally of Mikhail Gorbachev and eventually become the “father of glasnost,” the political philosophy (along with “Perestroika”) that eventually brought down the Iron Curtain.

More recently, during a standoff between the United States and China over the future of blind Chinese political dissident Chen Guangcheng, New York University stepped in to offer him a visiting scholar position in New York, thereby diffusing a tense situation.

Time and again international education has been a critically important soft power tool.

Students from banned nations

Coming back to international exchange –– it has played a significant role in promoting peaceful relations between nations for decades.

For most of the 1970s, Iran sent more students to the U.S. than any other country. The peak year was 1979-1980, when more than 50,000 Iranian students came to study in the U.S.

After relations between the two nations deteriorated following the fall of the shah of Iran, the number of students coming to the U.S. dropped dramatically, until there were fewer than 1,700 students in 1998-1999. However, in the 2000s, as relations with the two nations began to warm, the trend finally began to turn around, with the number of students more than doubling from 2010 to 2015.

The other nations on the banned list do not have nearly as robust numbers as Iran, yet they do send students to the U.S. Those numbers are growing overall. Both Iraq and Libya have more than 1,000 students currently studying in the U.S. Although other nations send fewer (there are only 35 Somali students) in total, there were more than 17,300 students from the banned countries studying in the U.S. last year.

What is noteworthy is that was a 7 percent increase over the previous year and a more than 300 percent increase from 15 years ago, when there were only about 4,000 students from those same nations. Iran led with more than 1,800 students, and Syria was number two with more than 700.

In fact, more than 10 percent (about 108,000) of the international students in the U.S. come from the Middle East and North Africa regions, the home to most of the banned countries. When they return home, these students serve as ambassadors of the U.S. and, while here, help us gain a greater appreciation for their culture.

Declining enrollments?

How these actions will impact the students is not clear, but we do know that major events can have lasting impact on international education numbers.

For about five years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the total number of international students studying in the U.S. declined. Much of this decline came from students in Muslim majority nations, who could either not obtain a visa or chose not apply for it. They also feared they would not be welcomed in the United States.

And this was at a time when the American president, George W. Bush, argued that “Ours is a war not against a religion, not against the Muslim faith. But ours is a war against individuals who absolutely hate what America stands for.”

Data have already suggested that the rhetoric of the current administration has weighed on the minds of students considering where to study abroad. A study by international student recruiting companies prior to the election found that 60 percent of the 40,000 students surveyed in 118 countries would be less inclined to come to the U.S. if Trump won the election (compared to only 3.8 percent who would be less inclined if Clinton won). And that was before the rhetoric turned into reality.

Even though the U.S. still retains the largest global market share of international students, that market share has been declining gradually. This is due to the increased competition from other nations and international student concerns about safety, cost and hospitality in the United States: In 2000, about one quarter of all international students globally came to the United States. Within a decade, that number had shrunk to 19 percent, and by 2012, the number had dropped to 16 percent.

Where is this all going?

An early policy paper by the Trump team seemingly called for the elimination of J-1 visas, which allow for international youth to pursue temporary work in the U.S. And the current administration has sent signals indicating that it would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive H-1B visas, awarded to individuals with specialized skills.

Both of these programs are used by universities to support student and scholar exchanges. It is not yet clear if the current administration will pursue policies in these area that will affect universities in the same way the ban has done.

A Temple University student holds up her sign during a protest in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Corey Perrine

What is clear is that the recent ban has already sent a chilling effect across colleges near and far. Within one day, there were reports of students being trapped overseas and in the U.S. An Iranian Ph.D. student at SUNY Stony Brook was detained at JFK and almost deported.

Another Iranian, pursuing his Ph.D. at Yale, was traveling internationally to conduct research, and feared that he might not be able to return to his studies even though he was a green card holder (the administration subsequently reversed its ban on permanent residents from those nations). There is no telling how many others are blocked from returning having been away on break between semesters.

Protecting our nation is one of the most important roles of the federal government, and we do need to be thoughtful about how to establish effective immigration polices. However, the broad-based nature of the ban flies in the face of decades of support for the power of international exchange. Even a foreign policy hard line approach would typically be softened by an ongoing support of international exchange.

As Senator Fulbright said,

“Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.”

The motivation for this ban is the concern that we might let in a terrorist. But what if we turn away the next great scientist or peacemaker?

The Conversation

Jason Lane, Chair and Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership & Co-Director of the Cross-Border Education Research Team, University at Albany, State University of New York

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AUBG’s Dr. Stantcheva’s Visit at Denison

Working with German professor Dr. Diana Stantcheva from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) as a collaborative team within GLCA’s Global Course Connections Program over the past four years has been a most productive and enjoyable journey. Both Denison and AUBG students have been collaborating on a great variety of projects for 7 continuous semesters. These courses have ranged from intermediate to advanced level , from language to content-focused, and from simple technologies to complex digitally innovative courses.

Students on both sides have gotten to know each other and both professors over the years, and it’s not been seldom that students who had worked together on a digitally supported project found each other to be partners again three semesters later. Via Google Hangouts and later Zoom video-conferencing students on both sides have met regularly over time to discuss American and East-European culture, US and German politics, the refugee situation in Europe, German media, Homosexuality in German film, gender and family, and linguistic phenomena, and much more – all in German!

img_0195This fall, on November 7th, Dr. Stantcheva came to Dr. Dillmann’s “Media in Germany” course to discuss the US presidential election from a European perspective with the class. In turn, students in the course explained and discussed the American voting system with Dr. Stantcheva who was extremely impressed both by how politically informed our students were and how well they were able to describe the complex election system and state their own opinions on the two competing candidates in very clear German.

Dr. Stantcheva’s husband Vladi, an accomplished artist based in Sofia and Berlin, joined us for a campus tour where he talked with several students in German. He was particularly interested in students working at the election information table in Slayter Hall and likewise impressed by how politically savvy and engaged our students are. The stereotype that young Americans are indifferent to the politics in their own country was certainly not confirmed on our campus.

img_0215

Definitely a highlight of Diana’s and Vladi’s visit – according to both Diana and Vladi – was visiting the Mulberry MixLab with its director, Christian Faur, showing them the lab space with its manifold artistic production programs and demonstrating to them how the various 3-D printers set up in Mulberry and the Bryant Arts Center function. Diana was especially delighted about the special gift she received from Christian: her name laser-cut into a piece of wood.

img_0225

We concluded the evening with a meal at Day Y Noche, where two of our Denison students had the pleasure to be captured spontaneously in a portrait drawing by the artist at the dinner table. They said that they would always treasure this unexpected gift.

Thank you, Diana and Vladi, for your visit and sharing your thoughts and experiences with our students!

Posted in Art, Digital_Liberal_Arts, Pedagogical, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments