IIE Networker - Spring 2007 - (Page 42)

Knowledge Network Dual Degree Programs Creating Sustainable Dual Degree Programs By Kristin M. Lord and Caroline Donovan White At The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, we wrestled with how to create a sustainable dual degree program in international affairs with top foreign universities. We wanted more international students in our classroom but knew we did not have the resources (especially staff and faculty time) to administer multiple programs. In 2001, we created the Master of International Studies – a dual degree program with two international partners. Today, the MIS program has grown to include partnerships with 16 different foreign institutions in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East and we have plans to add three more partners within the coming year. The key to this program is that the Elliott School portion of the program is always the same, making it uniquely scalable. Though only a few students from a particular partner participate in a given year, the students from all the partner universities combined create a critical mass. Since the inception of the program, our international student population has increased by 9 percent and the number of our American students participating in study abroad has increased by 20 percent. MIS 2006 graduates, from Fudan University, Ewha Womans University, University of Maastricht, London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Sydney. Identifying International Partners To identify institutional partners, we often relied on existing faculty relationships. In proposing partnerships to schools abroad, we emphasized that the MIS would not create brain drain or compete with the institutions’ existing Master’s degree programs; students would be encouraged to study at a partner institution, then build on that experience with a year at GW. We further stipulated that students could not earn the MIS without completing all the partner institution’s degree requirements. Finally, we agreed to have only one partnership per country or geographical region, allowing the partner to advertise the exclusivity of this arrangement to its pool of prospective students. This has proven particularly attractive in countries with intense competition for top domestic students, especially Australia, South Korea, and Germany. modest staff and financial resources. MIS students complete a total of 28 credit hours, with 19 of those hours completed in residence on our Washington, D.C. campus. The remaining 9 credits are transferred into the program from the student’s Master’s program at the partner institution. In selecting appropriate partners, we targeted institutions with programs in international relations and rigorous foundational requirements in political science, economics, and history. Rather than have students repeat those core courses on our campus, the MIS program transfers in 9 credits (three courses) from their previous degree as evidence of this core knowledge. The remaining 19 MIS credits are completed over two semesters in residence at the Elliott School. The credits consist of 4 courses in a sub-major field; 2 free electives; and 1 final capstone project (in lieu of a thesis). These choices allow students to expand their knowledge in an area different from their previous degrees, drawing on the particular strengths of our institution. For example, a student from our partner in Berlin with a previous degree in international relations might choose a specialization in security policy studies. Another student from Shanghai with an Asian regional studies background might opt for a focus on international economics. The elective credits provide a safety net to allow for students who may not have taken the core courses at their home institution; in those cases, students transfer in electives and take the core courses at our university. Another feature of the MIS is that it operates alongside GW’s largest degree program, the two-year M.A. in International Affairs, and mirrors its requirements structure. Therefore the MIS program has not required significant additional programming, staff or financing. MIS students enroll in classes alongside other GW students and are fully integrated into school heightening campus internationalization. Financing the Partnerships Elliott School students benefit from the international relationships in other ways as well. MIS partner arrangements often include opportunities for reciprocal student exchange, whereby GW M.A. students spend a semester abroad at a partner school, in exchange for GW hosting an MIS student. This is a key element of each partner relationship because a participating student pays home fees, creating Designing the Curriculum We designed a flexible, scaleable curriculum that did not require course by course negotiation with each new partner institution. A program emerged that protects our core curriculum, has fair and equal requirements for all partners, with clear curricular requirements and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2007

IIE Networker - Spring 2007
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
Best Practices in International Education: Andrew Heiskell Awards 2007
In-Country Consortia: Rethinking Collaboration in Education Abroad
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series: A Conversation with President John B. Simpson, State University of New York at Buffalo
Higher Education in Pakistan: A Silent Revolution
Opening Minds to the World: Toyota and IIE
Dual Degree Programs
South Africa–USA Partnership
Faculty View
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Spring 2007