NEW YORK – Faculty and administrators discussed strategies for internationalizing professional programs at a best practice conference sponsored by the Institute of International Education. Loudspeakers at a Thursday afternoon panel, represented air traffic control, oral health and nursing programs, all of whom had to receiveD IIE André Heiskell Prize for innovation in international education.
“Really, the cards are against internationalization,” said Mark Lazar, IIE’s vice president of global scholarship and learning programs, reflecting on the challenges faced by professional programs in particular. “These are very detailed programs with very strict requirements. Credit transfer is an issue; accreditation is an issue. These are programs that require internship experiences and these are programs that are heavily regulated or overseen by the government. “
“Despite all these obstacles, what really makes these programs great is that they take the obstacles to internationalization and knock them down and use them as an advantage,” Lazar said, offering, for example, opportunities students to acquire internship experiences. abroad.
Clyde Rinkinen, assistant professor of air traffic management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, described a two-week study abroad program in which students travel to Belgium, Germany, England, France , in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, studying air traffic control systems from a comparative perspective. (Among the stopovers are EUROCONTROL’s headquarters in Brussels and a high-altitude aircraft separation center in Maastricht.) Students, who take courses before their departure, write a research dissertation upon their return.
“This course ended up facilitating the internships. Thanks to this, a student has already obtained an internship in Shanghai. We have also made connections with other industry-related groups which we hope will be fruitful for Embry-Riddle students, ”said Rinkinen.
“It broadens the horizons of our students,” added Martin R. Lauth, associate professor of air traffic management at Embry-Riddle. “Obviously, not all of our students will be hired by the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]so we are looking at other opportunities with big companies like Boeing and so on where they offer air traffic services. And we have even discovered that there are foreign countries that are willing to hire some of our students as air traffic controllers. It’s a bit limited, but it’s still a possibility.
Panelists from two oral hygiene programs described service learning programs in developing countries. Students from La Trobe University in Australia travel to Nepal to provide community education on oral health issues, while Shoreline Community College in Washington state offers a study program at short term abroad in partnership with the Smiles Forever dental hygiene training clinic in Bolivia. . “To be able to see such poverty and such a need for oral health, when [students] when they return, they are so much more aware of the importance of access to care, ”said Maryrose Bellert, director of the Shoreline program.
Bellert said students crave experience: she even had students say they chose Shoreline over other competing oral health programs because of the possibility of going to Bolivia. This despite the fact that the program was only offered once, in 2011 – and the trip planned for that year had to be canceled as there is no longer a study abroad coordinator at the college who can take care of the logistics.
Paul Vita, Director and Academic Dean of the Saint Louis University Campus in Madrid, discussed some of the challenges facing his Nursing Program with International Preparation, in which undergraduate nursing students spend their first two years in Madrid and their last two in Saint-Louis. They are able to secure clinical placements for students in private health facilities in Spain, but, he said, “the most difficult challenge is the staffing of teaching staff.” In order to avoid compromising the approval of the program by the Missouri State Board of Nursing, he said all classes must be taught by someone with a Missouri nursing license. Although they have brought Missourians to teach, it can get expensive. He said, however, that they were lucky to find expats in Madrid who could teach their courses.
To conclude the presentations, Sabeen Altaf, IIE’s senior program manager for science and technology programs, shared ideas of effective practices she learned from administering two exchange programs for engineers. One point she highlighted is that it is useful for programs to have ABET accreditation in order to facilitate exchanges. (Although based in the United States, ABET accredits programs around the world.)
Many of the programs highlighted on Thursday were short-term, and the focus was placed during the discussion on the costs of those programs. “These are programs that can be undertaken during semester breaks or during the summer and provide this intensive experience so that time is not wasted on getting the degree, which is very important as many of these students are under pressure. economical to complete on time. “Lazar said.