June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.943.1 - 14.943.20
WATER : A Model Partnership for Sustainable Development and International Education
Susan Norwood, EdD, RN (Department of Nursing, Gonzaga University)
Bradley Striebig, PhD (School of Engineering, James Madison University)
West African Technology, Education, and Reciprocity (WATER) is an interdisciplinary study abroad experience that focuses on the development of sustainable water and health-related resources in Benin, West Africa. The WATER program is a partnership between the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin, James Madison University, and Gonzaga University. The course has been built around a consultative model of engagement: the Songhai Centre identified their needs and the professors and universities developed course content and projects to respond to these needs. The goal – and challenge – is to meet community-identified needs while still providing a meaningful and credible educational and cultural experience for a diverse group of students.
This paper describes the design, development, and implementation of this interdisciplinary study abroad experience. The authors explain how the course is organized to capitalize on the talents of students from multiple diverse majors. Site selection considerations, evaluation procedures, and lessons learned also are described.
Study abroad opportunities have increasingly become an expectation in higher education. More than half of incoming students intend to have some type of study abroad experience during their undergraduate education – and their parents are encouraging this. Additionally, accrediting bodies and employers are recognizing the value of such an experience. For example, the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has stated that engineers should exhibit an awareness of global conditions and circumstances that may influence the design process. Similarly, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) identifies global awareness and intercultural competency as essential outcomes for graduates of baccalaureate nursing programs.1 Professional accrediting organizations also are placing increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary education and collaboration. Study abroad experiences also take students outside of their typical comfort zones, allowing them to stretch and grow in ways that are just not possible on campus. For some students, such experiences may trigger interest in career opportunities with service or non-governmental organizations that focus on engineering, health, education, and development needs in the US or abroad. In spite of encouragement and the desire of students to participate in study abroad experiences, in fields such as engineering and nursing with very stringent accreditation requirements, prescribed courses, and heavy course loads, students have difficulty fitting a typical study aboard experience into a their schedule. WATER
Striebig, B., & Norwood, S. (2009, June), Partnerships For Sustainable Development And International Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4538
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