Internationalizing the Curriculum

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Internationalizing the Curriculum
March 25, 2011
Carlson School of Management

This was the second annual Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference.  The University Libraries co-sponsored this event with the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Instructional Development Service (UMD) and organized by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (Previously International Programs Office).  This was my second time attending this conference and both times I have been impressed with the number of participants and the representation across campuses of the University of Minnesota.

Several of my Library colleagues were in attendance, as well.  The Diversity Outreach Collaborative participated in the Poster Session. Laura Dale Bischof and myself came up with the content for the poster.  To see our poster click here: DOC International Poster March 2011.pdf.  Thank you to Andrew Palahnuik for designing this poster on our behalf.

Last year's conference posed the question, "What does global competency mean to you?"  From comments and conversations from the 2010 conference the following definition was created:

Globally competent University of Minnesota faculty, staff and students will demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and perspectives necessary to understand the world and work effectively to improve it.

Below are some summaries and thoughts about the various sessions that I attended:

Session 1

Peer Programs to Internationalize the Curriculum and Campus

Presenters: Grace Machoki, International Student and Scholar SErvices (UMTC), Catherine Clements and Bethany Schowengerdt, CLA and a student panel


  • United States has the biggest number of incoming international students
  • Peer programs offer a beneficial experience


Tandem Plus
http://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/tandem
  • Language and culture exchange program
  • CLA Language Center offers for free
  • An opportunity to meet someone from a different culture
  • An opportunity to practice language skills...all done by peers and does not require leaving campus.
  • Primary participants are U of MN students, faculty, staff and scholars, both international and U.S. American.
  • Opportunity to expose students to different cultures.
  • Offers a virtual face to face program using Skype; U.S. based students are paired with students from various countries.
  • Conversation Groups are offered to practice English and share experiences and support from peers.
  • In the Class to Class exchanges  this program is integrated into the curriculum
  • Not  limited to CLA, but priority given to them.


Cross Cultural Discussion Groups  
Program from International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS)
  • 2 hour - weekly meetings for both graduations and undergraduates (U.S and International)


International Buddy Program (ISSS)
  • International Sstudents paired with a local mentor or buddy.  Matched based on college/major, interest, hobbies.
  • Weekly and monthly organized events
  • Focus groups conducted and found that making connections was at the core of the appeal of this program to both mentors and buddies. Also provided support, empowerment, and understand of cross cultural issues.


Some of the significant factors that peer programs provide are:
  • better academic achievement
  • lower drop out rate
  • less depression, stress and anxiety

Student Development outcomes are integrated into these programs (cross cultural understanding, self awareness and appreciation of differences)


Session 2

Beyond Curriculum Integration: Collaborations between education abroad and career services

Roxanne Rawson and Katie Selby, Carlson School of Management (UMTC); Blythe Cherney, Learning Abroad Center (UMTC)



What are employers thinking about the broad number of experiences students have in undergraduate?

One of the key topics -- effectiveness of students' ability to articulate relevance of their international experience.

Recruiter's Perspective (Recruiter from Target)
  • Relevancy
    • Need to talk about it in interviews. Be able to articulate the value.
  • Some common pitfalls are overselling their study abroad experience
  • Prep tips
    • How do you translate what you have done and how it is relevant to your career?
    • What are some of the skill sets that were developed?


Collaborations with Career Center
  • Career Center offers Skype interviews during On-Campus Recruiting events
  • IP and Career Center staff assess intern aboard programs jointly
  • Career uses IP student data to communicate with students abroad about recruiting process.
  • Workshops
    • Marketing your International Experience Workshop
    • Planning Career Search around Study Abroad Workshop


Section 3

Infusing Intercultural into your International: Examples, Outcomes, and Participant Dialogue

Paula J. Pedersen, Ed.D. UMD


This session will be recorded and should be made available on the GPSA website.

Article by King and Baxter Magolda (2005) http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_college_student_development/v048/48.5magolda.html


Session 4

Intercultural Competence; Engaging Diversity within a First Year Multidisciplinary Classroom

Amy Lee, Na'im Madyun, Jill Trites, Rhiannon Williams (PSTL, CEHD)


Being taped and will be made available on the GPSA website.

Common Course Required to All FY Students
  • First Year Inquiry Course (CEHD) 4 credit hours2 semesters -- Multidisciplinary Ways of Knowing
  • Students work on a Capstone Project
  • 80 or 90 students per class
  • They also have learning communities where students take several classes together in similar disciplines and some courses share assignments.
  • CEHD Reads (common book that everyone reads) to challenge student to grapple with social or critical issues.
There were many University Libraries attendees at this event. Please feel free to share your experiences by commenting on this blog post or contact Jody Gray directly to do your own blog post for the U Libraries Diversity Outreach Collaborative Blog.

Below I have included a few of the posters that I thought might be of interest.

Integrated Course Design.jpg

International Students.jpg
Travel Grant.jpg

1 Comment

One of the sessions I attended that Jody did not was called "International Undergraduates’ Classroom Experiences and Implications for Teaching." The presentation was based on the results of an August 2010 survey conducted by ISSS, the Minnesota English Language Program, and CTL. A set of slides (from a different presentation) summarizing the results of the survey is available.

The major areas students surveyed reported having difficulty were:


  1. Learning in a second language
    Speaking in class is a challenge, but also the quantity of reading, especially since "processing time" needed is longer when you are reading in a non-native language. Less problems were reported with written instructions or understanding written material or classmates.
  2. Lack of shared academic & classroom culture
    Different expectations about attendance, different frequency of tests, different amounts of homework and class participation are expected. An example is that most international students said they prefer/expect to get help from professors, whereas the professor may expect the students to go to TA. International students also prefered to ask questions after class (when professors may not have much time) rather than during class. Instructors should make the syllabus more explicit about when / where to ask questions, how to address professor (title or name), and whether it’s okay to interrupt. Another issue is the dominance of examples taken from U.S. culture, e.g. television shows, sports.
  3. Feelings of isolation
    International students feel there is a hesitation from Americans to learn about other cultures -- that it is not a two-way street. Also, it is easy for professors to ignore or not include students who are shy to speak English
  4. General cultural differences (outside of academics)

As for what would help, international students surveyed mentioned the following:


  • Structured opportunities for integration (discussion groups, etc.).
  • Instructors to be aware of cultural background differences, and, for example to make sure students know they are talking about when they give examples
  • Encourage international students to utilize campus resources.

The presenters also talked some strategies for teaching learners in a second language. A key point is to take a universal design approach. These strategies can potentially benefit not just international students but many others, including English language learners and people with various learning disabilities. Many will be relevant to librarians who conduct workshops.


  • Give everyone processing time to think about class questions before answering and more time for exams
  • Make all materials available online
  • Tell students the expectations about participation during/after class
  • Be explicit about tests and assignments in the syllabus; provide both written and verbal instructions for assignments & test formats
  • Let students know how you would like to be addressed
  • Working in groups: Start with pair work, then move towards groups; ask students to form groups with students as different from themselves as possible; don’t change groups around too often

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