Rosilyn Coulson has contributed a post to get the conversation going on the strategic theme of Internationalization. Thank you, Rosilyn.
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Over to you, Rosilyn. --Scott
Internationalization - from Rosilyn Coulson, Economics Instructor
What is the meaning of internationalization in a college environment? To what extent, and in what manner, should Douglas College pursue internationalization?
“We believe that intellectual growth and exploration inspire well rounded, responsible and contributing citizens. We invite everyone into the excitement and curiosity of learning.”
In reviewing the Douglas College values, it is easy to see how internationalization fits into our curricula. When inviting our students into the excitement and curiosity of learning are we not inviting them to consider the perspectives and experiences of our global neighbours? For me, education is inherently international.
So let me put my cards on the table: my maternal grandfather came from the Middle East to North America to pursue a post-secondary education and my British father decided to pursue his graduate studies in the United States after participating in a student exchange. My childhood memories include students from various parts of the world sharing our holiday celebrations. While working at Douglas College I have been involved in the joint-venture projects in China since 1998. I have taught overseas and been responsible for the administration of the projects. I have heard about the international scholarly pursuits of my colleagues as a member of the Common Professional Development Fund committee.
Internationalization, in my opinion, is the intentional exploration of the perspectives and experiences of others from around the world. It is an openness and vulnerability. International experience may create a profound realization of national assumptions, biases and norms. The ability to incorporate personal experiences and ongoing research into the courses is ideal, for it carries a great deal of weight with any audience. However, first-hand international experience is only one method of internationalization of the curricula. The key here is to create the “a-ha” moment for our students.
Is internationalization a key component of Douglas College? My perception is no, it is not a key component. I have not seriously explored the areas outside of my own faculty. I suspect there is a great deal of internationalization that is simply part of the learning environment. I am the grateful recipient of the collective wisdom of those who have participated in international experiences over the years. There is a wealth of experience at Douglas College. But the danger here is giving brownie points for something that is expected as a fundamental part of any learning environment; education is inherently international.
Strategically, Douglas College must remain committed to an ongoing international component in the learning environment. In my opinion our offering are not particularly unique. A quick scan of the competitive environment indicates that many institutions offer international experiences. I am thrilled to see our menu of offerings expand. I have a great deal of respect for every individual at the College who has created these opportunities for they are a labour of love. A menu of international opportunities that ranges from guests with international experience visiting the classrooms to extended overseas study programs needs to be maintained. Institutional support needs to be maintained to allow individuals the resources to continue their efforts.
Now what do you think? Let's hear your comments on the theme of Internationalization.