IIE Network - Fall 2013 - (Page 15)

FEATURE: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES Considering Study Abroad’s Past to Prepare for its Future By Eduardo Contreras IN 1926, THE first director of the Institute of International Education, Stephen Duggan, thought there were two major advancements in international education that had implications for study abroad. One innovation came from within American higher education and introduced a new way to formalize supervision and credit for undergraduate students studying overseas. The other development came from the emerging travel industry. One of these innovations remains with us to this day, while the other is now a relic from a bygone era. Knowing something about these two “old things” can be instructive for international educators as we look forward to the next “big thing” in study abroad. The Two Big Things in 1926 In the 1926 IIE annual report, Duggan wrote that the “Junior Year Abroad” and the “Student Third Class” were “The two most striking developments in international education made during the past two years” (Duggan 3). American steamship companies introduced the Student Third Class as a novel way to transport students across the Atlantic Ocean on reduced rates in renovated, steerage sections of their ships. Duggan noted that this method of transporting larger numbers of students in the bowels of steamships had potential beyond the commercial success seen by travel companies. He expressed guarded optimism that the Student Third Class would capitalize on the emerging interest in international affairs among young people in the 1920s and would provide them with more affordable travel rates, which could provide students new opportunities for learning. Duggan cautioned parents and administrators in higher education that these commercial endeavors would need to be assessed for their safety and supervision. At the time, profit-minded steamship companies were not necessarily concerned about student behavior and safety. As Duggan wrote, students on ships occasionally indulged in “excessive drinking and a freedom of conduct which would give concern to thoughtful and careful parents” (Duggan 9). The Junior Year Abroad began at the University of Delaware in 1923 and was also adopted in 1925 at Smith College. A French language instructor at the University of Delaware designed a program for advanced French students to spend their entire junior year studying French language and culture in France under faculty supervision while still earning university credit. The Smith College program was structured in the same way. The motivating rationales for both programs made good sense for each institution. The academic justification for sending American juniors to study abroad was straightforward—scholastic interests could be met by improving students’ language skills and preparing them for postgraduate studies. Students’ professional goals could be reached by providing training for education, business, or government. Finally, a universal rationale was the hope that study abroad students would expand their worldviews and increase their goodwill toward the people in France. Duggan believed these goals were met because of three conditions established on these pioneering programs: 1. The careful selection of students in good academic standing. 2. The approval of the overseas curriculum by the faculty at the home institution. 3. The supervision of the students by a faculty member affiliated with the home university. As a result of feedback from students and faculty on these programs, Duggan was convinced this model would be a long-term success for international education. Lessons from the Past What lessons for the future can be learned by looking at the past? After all, it has been several decades since an innovation in steamship technology has made the headlines, and the junior year abroad is but one of many options for American students seeking overseas study today. Nevertheless, a few points from IIE’s 1926 annual report can still serve international educators today. First, leaders in international education should balance the guiding aims of their study abroad programs with a context sensitive approach. “Context” should include the local and global. For example, administrators at Smith College and the University of Delaware justified their programs in ways that made sense for the various constituents on their home campuses. In an academic context, Duggan emphasized how faculty from both institutions pre-approved courses in France to ensure that the curriculum abroad would, “compare favorably with those in the Junior year of the [home] college” (Duggan, 6). In addition to meeting academic aims, these two study abroad programs also met professional and universal goals that appealed to various constituents on these two American campuses. Each of these guiding aims was also appropriate for the global context of the 1920s. When administrators design study abroad programs today, they have more international destinations to choose from, different concerns about the world, and a more diverse student body to serve. In contrast to the days when the Junior Year Abroad was the primary avenue for overseas study, students and administrators today are faced with a congested highway of program types, lengths and degrees of quality. Therefore, even when a college or university is not equipped to design its own program, it would be prudent for international educators to select programs that are mindful of the needs of the institution, the current times and the students they serve. Next, suitable supervision and safety precautions are essential to successful study abroad programs. Duggan paid particular attention to the role of adult supervision in the Junior Year Abroad programs he described in his 1926 report, and he was equally critical of the lack of supervision on Student Third Class quarters of steamships. IIE’s first director wanted to remove the booze from student cruises and minimize the roar of the American youth on study abroad programs in the 1920s. Although ideas about in loco parentis have changed dramatically since Duggan’s time, liability concerns and student safety issues are, and will continue to be, pressing issues for international educators. Accordingly, international educators ought to establish safety procedures that provide students (and affiliated faculty and on-site administrators) with the necessary conditions for learning. Key to this point is 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Network - Fall 2013

A Message from Allan E. Goodman
News
Megatrends: Predicting the Future of International Education
Considering Study Abroad’s Past to Prepare for its Future
The Promise of International Education: Building a More Just and Elevated Civil Society
Global Research and Commercialization: An Under-the-Radar Next Big Thing
Clustering Innovation and Industry: New Opportunities for Europe
Connecting the Dots: Integrating Engagement with International Stakeholders
The Rise of Real-time, Online International Recruitment
Hold on to Your Hats, MOOCs... Here Come the TOQUES!
The Global Youth Engagement Platform: A Peace Corps for the 21st Century
Growing Globally Competent Students to Achieve True Internationalization
Beyond Ourselves: Embracing Our Global Responsibilities
India: Expansion, Equity, Excellence
The Growing World of Collaborative Internationalization: Taking Partnerships to the Next Level
From Multi-national Universities to Education Hubs to Edu-glomerates?
Advertisers Index
Beyond the Numbers: The Who, How and What of Global Student Mobility

IIE Network - Fall 2013

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