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Internationalization Studio Helps Faculty Bring the World to Students

Faculty participants in last year's Curriculum Internationalization Studio meet in the Tufte Performance and Production Center in June. Photo/Erin Clossey

Roxana Maiorescu had a syllabus for a new class she wanted to offer at Emerson—Global Strategic Communications—which would look at how communications campaigns are run in different regions of the world based on local environmental variables.

But after participating in last year’s Curriculum Internationalization Studio, she said she had the tools to refine the course and better align it with the College’s goals.

“I added some more dimensions to the [course]; for example, I added the entertainment industry,” said Maiorescu, an assistant professor in the Marketing Communication Department, who will offer the course in the spring. “It pretty much helped us with the course objectives, because we wanted to integrate academic excellence, and we wanted to integrate innovation to a larger degree.”

The Internationalization Studio, offered through the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement, is a two-day professional development workshop that helps faculty develop courses that better integrate global perspectives into the curriculum. Participants receive a small stipend to help implement their ideas. To date, 34 faculty members have come through the program.

Applications for the third cycle of the Studio will be accepted from December 1 to March 24.

Anthony Pinder, assistant vice president for academic affairs in the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement, said he is looking forward to the next cohort.

“The enthusiasm of the studio faculty each year is contagious,” Pinder said. “They are seriously committed to the College’s comprehensive internationalization and see their work with the curriculum as a critical aspect of this process.

“Pedagogically speaking, I have been blown away by the results of their work in the Studio, as they continue to consider the diverse learning styles of students and the innovative strategies they are utilizing to teach them,” he added.

Agaptus Anaele’s course, Digital Marketing Trends of Health and Business in Africa, being offered in Summer 2017, doesn’t bring international perspectives into an Emerson classroom—it takes an Emerson classroom global.

“It is a class that will be taught as a study abroad program,” said Anaele, an assistant professor in the Marketing Communication Department, “and it provides an opportunity for students to learn about emerging trends in digital technology and how marketing communication and development nonprofits utilize digital technology for health promotion and business in Ghana.”

For three weeks, students in Anaele’s class will stay in Accra and meet with academics and representatives of nonprofits, non-governmental agencies, and UN agencies to learn how they use digital technology to communicate. So they will be able to put what they learn into context, the students also will make side trips to historically and culturally significant sites, including a “slave castle,” one of several gateways to the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, dedicated to Ghana’s first president; and the W.E.B. DuBois Centre, a museum named for the African American educator. 

Anaele said the Studio, which offered training on effective teaching methods and examples of successful study abroad programs, allowed him to fine-tune his proposal.

“I had specific [goals] of what I wanted to achieve,” Anaele said. “However, after the training, I refined my specific objectives and established new parameters for evaluating success. Secondly, I began to pay attention to the nuances of collaboration, and that became an important component of the design of the program.”

Anaele said the course will be a success if students come away with a deep understanding of the differences in access and use of technology in Africa versus the West, as well as a comprehension of the cultural contexts that lead to those differences.

Maiorescu said she hopes faculty will be able to take advantage of the Curriculum Internationalization Studios well into the future, and praised the College’s efforts to internationalize curriculum in general.

“I think [Emerson is] doing very well, and certainly Tony [Pinder] played a paramount role in that,” she said. “They do a great job of preparing students for a global world.”

November 14-18 is International Education Week, a nationwide initiative sponsored by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. For a full list of events, visit the Emerson International Education Week event page.

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