An Idea So Crazy… It Just Might Work!
November 10, 2010 5 Comments
Stuff at work has been really fun and interesting right now. The University here is in the midst of a lot of change, and from what I can see the majority of the change is for the best.
One of the things they really want to do is make sure that each student gets an international or intercultural experience in the time that they are here. This can be for a week, a month, a semester, a year. Just some sort of experience that broadens their perspective on the world. For my discipline, Chemistry, this has been really hard to achieve in the past. Typically science majors have a hard time integrating with semesters abroad because of how set and rigid the curriculum is.
While I was sitting in one of my faculty development meetings today listening to the stick about international travel and approval and things of this nature, I started thinking about our European sister school. And I realized that the possibility of an international semester was quite possible…. just maybe we could do it.
The European sister school is a 45 minute drive from another school that I know a professor at who I organized a conference with 2 years ago. We’re not close contacts, but close enough that I could email him and ask to work with him and it wouldn’t be weird.
The idea is this: Every other year we could take the Chemistry students abroad for a semester at our sister school. That is where they would live, eat, take classes. I’d teach the Chem students I brought an upper division chemistry class and a research class. I’d probably have to teach a Gen Ed class at the sister school too, I’d imagine. Then the students would take 1-2 general education classes at the sister school. Religion or humanities or something like that. We’d probably be telling them from the beginning which classes so they’d know not to take them here.
Their class work would have to be all MWF or all TTh, and then on their 2 or 3 off days we’d go to the research lab at the big university and do work there.
They’d get a semester abroad, research experience, a chance for international travel. And I think I could do it without adding any money to what they would have to pay for tuition and room and board currently.
It is a crazy idea, and one that needs serious fleshing out, but I think if could be amazing.
So I’ll ask you, the blogging community. If you were a student would an option like this be appealing to you? What if it were required? How well do you think students would respond to such an opportunity?