Stetson University’s teacher-scholar faculty travel abroad as WORLD Class Travel Award recipients to engage in professional development seminars, exploration trips, and other learning experiences. They investigate innovative approaches to internationalize curricula to increase global and intercultural learning. To become a WORLD Class Award recipient at Stetson University, click here.
Yves Clemmen, French, [CIEE IFDS]
Jennifer Foo, finance, [CIEE IFDS]
Elisabeth Poeter, German, [Conference matching funds]
Phillip Lucas, religious studies, Modern Debates Along an Ancient Way, Spain [CIEE IFDS]
Phillip Lucas, professor of religious studies, participated in the seminar to explore the rich history and
tradition of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
“This seminar will have a significant influence on the
internationalization of my courses at Stetson University,” said Lucas. “What I learned on the trip will augment my discussions of pilgrimage in courses like ‘Sacred Traditions of the World’, ‘Spirituality East and West’, and ‘Religions of India’. Relating my first-hand experience of being a pilgrim on the Camino will give my students a tangible example of a Western Christian spiritual practice that has continued to grow in popularity with contemporary people of many faiths or no faith at all. I will be able to give students valuable observations concerning contemporary Spain, its culture, history, religion and cuisine.”
Lucas is creating a 20-minute documentary that he plans to share with the Stetson community. In addition, he plans to develop a faculty-led study abroad program for students to experience Camino de Santiago. He envisions the program attracting students from multiple disciplines.
“The course will be of interest to students of religious studies, history, art history, architecture, marketing, the Spanish language, the social sciences, and economics–in fact the Camino is a powerful economic engine for contemporary Spain,” said Lucas. “It would make a very accessible and safe first foray for our students who are interested in visiting Europe during their time at Stetson. Students also will benefit from their contact with the many thousands of pilgrims from countries and cultures around the globe who are walking the Camino.”
William Nylen, political science: Contemporary Cuba – Present and Future Challenges, Cuba [CIEE IFDS]
William Nylen, professor of political science and director of the International Studies Program, participated in the faculty seminar to get better understanding of how students could engage with recent geopolitical changes in the northern hemisphere.
“As a specialist in Latin American politics and international political economy, I am often forced by the flow of history to incorporate into my teaching events issues, and countries about which I have very little background information or training,” said Nylen. “The recent thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations was one example of this . . . Some students are fascinated by it, in many cases because they have real life experience with the Cuban diaspora here in Florida. Because of the intensity of feeling that Cuba and U.S.-Cuban relations often elicit, however, I have always felt that I needed more knowledge and understanding of contemporary Cuba beyond what I learned in my college years 25 to 35 years ago.”
Nylen has plans to invite Cuban lecturers and academics from the program to Stetson for a symposium on U.S.-Cuban relations and hopes to develop a Mentored Field Experience program for Stetson students in Cuba.
Elisabeth Poeter, German, Ruin & Revival – History, Modern Memory & Identity, Germany & Poland [CIEE IFDS]
Elisabeth Poeter, associate professor of German, explored the role of historical memory in the formation of individual
and national identities in Poland and Germany during the summer seminar. Poeter, director of Stetson’s Gender Studies Program and is co-director of the university’s summer program un Freiburg, Germany. During the IFDS, she examined Germany and Poland through the lenses of historical context, institutional responses, and artistic expression.
“The balance between lectures, site visits and meetings with directors of political and cultural institutions was very effective,” said Poeter. “It provided me with a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges, successes and drawbacks in creating a climate of political, social and cultural understanding, cooperation and tolerance between two countries, East Germany and Poland, whose people share experiences and memories of WWII, the holocaust and life under socialist regimes until 1989.”
“It was, indeed, a rich and transformative experience for me,” said Poeter. “I am currently revising the pedagogy of GERM 304B, Modern German Culture, with specific focus on the postwar period to provide a forum for class discussions that fosters cross-cultural and intercultural reflections and comparisons about ideology and politics of memorialization in the U.S. and Europe, its function as an instrument for national identity formation and the questions that arise for new generations about the process of forming a personally and collectively diverse sense of identity.”
Manuel de Murga, music, Contemporary Cuban Transformations: Social Inequalities and Social Policy, Cuba [CIEE IFDS]
William Andrews, , Moldova [Exploration]
See Andrew’s reflective essay on Moldova.
Dejan Magoc, health science, Serbia [Exploration]
Dr. Magoc traveled to Novi Sad, Serbia, to develop a program in the cross-cultural aspects of health. The program will expand Stetson’s course offerings in the health sciences to an international arena.
Magoc, a graduate of the University of Novi Sad, anticipates the program having interest to students from multiple disciplines. Stetson students will be given a unique opportunity to engage in the local culture while interacting with students and faculty from the University of Novi Sad, one of the largest comprehensive universities in the region. Students will participate in a variety of collaborative tasks that will be used to enhance social relations through team-building within a diverse setting.
Robert Sitler (Ecuador) [Exploration]
Professor Sitler spent June 2016 in Cuenca, Ecuador developing relationships with representatives from the University of Cuenca to offer a Spanish Language and Latin American Studies summer program.
Sitler, who is also director of Stetson’s Latin American Studies Program, established a homestay program in which students will live with local families and fully immerse themselves in Ecuadorian culture and Spanish language. Students will also visit two different indigenous communities, one in the Kichwa villages around Saraguro and the other with the Cañari people of Tambo. Sitler’s project builds on relationships initiated in Spring 2014 when a Stetson exploratory team from the College of Arts & Sciences (Karen Ryan, Robert Sitler, J. Anthony Abbott, Nancy Vosburg) and the School of Business Administration (Jennifer Foo) traveled to Ecuador and Chile. Since then, Stetson has established a student semester exchange program in Chile. The Ecuador program has potential for expansion to diverse disciplines, including environmental science.
Michael Denner, history, Georgia [Exploration]
Anthony Abbott, environmental science and studies, Germany [Exploration]
Professor Abbott worked with faculty and administrators at the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg in Freiburg, Germany and at Stetson to develop a robust model for Faculty Exchange Programs at Stetson. Building on a relationship established more than 40 years ago, Abbott’s work creates the foundation for other faculty exchange opportunities. He is currently developing a faculty exchange handbook for Stetson University.
Christopher Bell, religious studies, The Influence of Religions on Women in Contemporary Tanzanian Society [CIEE IFDS]
Chris Bell, assistant professor of religious studies, participated in The Influence of Religions on Women in Contemporary Tanzanian Society seminar during January 2015 in Tanzania.
“The daily interactions, interviews, and examples of religious commerce I experienced provided me with ample anecdotes that I can bring to my classes and research exercises that impact my scholarship,” said Dr. Bell. “The seminar was a pedagogically valuable experience for the many learning opportunities it provided. I would certainly recommend this and other development seminars to other faculty for the academic connections, scholarly models, and myriad teaching inspirations that it provides.”
Rachel Core, sociology, The Influence of Religions on Women in Contemporary Tanzanian Society [CIEE IFDS]
For Dr. Core, assistant professor of sociology, meeting with the women affiliated with the Matumaini Center was one of the highlights of the IFDS seminar, The Influence of Religions on Women in Contemporary Tanzanian Society.
“While these women certainly were not wealthy, they were the most empowered women we met during the trip,” she said. “They talked about how they were proud to be single and how it allows them to control their own time and money.” Core began internationalizing her classroom on the morning after she returned from Tanzania. “Talking to these women about some of the issues they face has given me concrete examples, which I have already incorporated into classroom discussions,” she said. “Many students in Understanding Society (SOCI 101S) are concerned with the issue of religious tolerance. In [SOCI] 101S I have also introduced differing values regarding children’s toys in our discussion on socialization. Certainly, in American culture, many toys are colored, packaged, and presented as being either for boys or for girls. By contrast, at the women’s center in Iringa, I saw a little boy with a baby strapped to his back. When I asked his mother about this—noting that in America it is often only girls who play with dolls—she stated that in Tanzania dolls are gender neutral.”
Ranjini Thaver, economics, Brussels & Amsterdam: EU Integration and Global Business in Current & Historic Perspectives, [CIEE IFDS]
When professor of economics, Ranjini Thaver, traveled to Europe in May 2015 to participate in summer seminar, she had no inkling the international seminar would be as transformative as it was.
“Visiting Europe was a startling and humbling reminder that stereotypes are a human condition, and unless met with education head-on, we perpetuate further misperceptions,” she remarked. “I believe that the process of internationalizing my classroom based on my IFDS experience began the day I arrived in Belgium.
“Even though I am on sabbatical this semester, as I prepare my learning modules for ECON 103 I already am focusing on the EU, the refugee crisis and its impact on the economy, and the parallels between Greece-Germany and the US-China relationships.”
Noel Painter, music, Music in Ireland: A Study of Identity, Politics, and Space seminar in Ireland and Northern Ireland [CIEE IFDS]
Prior to the summer 2015 Music in Ireland: A Study of Identity, Politics, and Space seminar in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Noel Painter, associate dean of the School of Music and associate professor, expected to add content on the music of Ireland in his Music Culture course.
“Having now completed my journey, I understand how limited, possibly naïve, my initial expectations for the trip were,” Painter reflected. “Indeed, the experiences that our group of eight faculty had—learning not only about music, but also politics, religion, perceptions of authenticity, regional culture, and more—led me to a clearer understanding of the importance of both title words—Music and Culture—in the class that I offer our freshmen.
“Certainly the class embraces both terms currently, but in previous years in this class I have taught about the music of different cultures. I now understand, after having experienced this seminar, how important it is to convey to the students the cultures that result in different musics. The wording change is slight, but the change in emphasis—from music toward culture—may result in a completely different pedagogical approach to the class.”