Overcoming Barriers to Faculty Engagement in Study Abroad
SavishinskyMaxS, Max Andrew
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This research explored the experiences and perspectives of college and university faculty members who developed, directed and instructed study abroad programs for undergraduate students from three different institutions: a large research university, a private comprehensive university, and a community college. A qualitative study was based on in-depth interviews with eighteen faculty members, six from each institution, to identify the barriers and supports to engagement that faculty encounter in their study abroad work, and to learn about how institutions can better support the participation of faculty in international education. Findings included evidence that despite significant institutional initiative and rhetoric in favor of increased internationalization, faculty members face diverse institutional policies, practices and attitudes that inhibit or prevent their participation. Findings also highlighted numerous ways that institutions can and do encourage and support engagement and participation. Regardless of institutional approaches, the lived experience that faculty members had in their study abroad work constituted a powerful incentive for their ongoing work in international education. Faculty believed strongly in the beneficial outcomes of international experiences for students, teachers, and institutions. They also perceived a significant gap between the rhetorical support of institutions for internationalization, and the many institutional realities that inhibit the work of faculty members abroad. For the faculty members involved in this research study, their continued engagement in study abroad in the face of many barriers indicates that institutional policies and practices - particularly those that are responsive to faculty circumstances, perspectives, and experiences - have the potential to effect greater faculty participation in study abroad programs, specifically, and engagement in the internationalization of higher education.
- Education - Seattle