Consortium Models: Enhancing Faculty Led Study Abroad Programs for Pre- and In-Service Teachers

Consortium Models: Enhancing Faculty Led Study Abroad Programs for Pre- and In-Service Teachers

Angela M. Cartwright (Midwestern State University, USA) and Michael T. Mills (Midwestern State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1057-4.ch005
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The purpose of the chapter is to explore the type of study abroad programming available to pre- and in-service teachers through the lens of a participant. The authors' experiences with the various programming options provide a unique perspective on the options available to both participants and their educational and professional institutions. The data indicates that international education experiences are of particular value to those in the teaching profession, and the authors' experiences point to the consortium model of international education as a uniquely promising model for providing transformational educational experiences to pre- and in-service teachers.
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The benefits of study abroad have been well documented. Whether looking at a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education of Students (IES), or reading an Open Doors report, both the personal and professional benefits of study abroad experiences are apparent. Study abroad participants such as Carolyn Valtos often say things such as “Overall, I learned more about myself in that one semester than I did in the three and half years in my home school because of the unique space in which I learned, experiences, and spent exploring another culture,” (IES Adelaide, 1992). Students in the United States often have a limited view of the world in which they live; specifically, 10-20% of the authors’ population who study abroad report that their study abroad experience will be their first time on an airplane or the first time they will be leaving the 150-mile radius of their hometown. The experiences that these students gain by studying abroad will help them expand their worldviews, learn about different cultures, and begin to learn how their home countries fit into the global picture. As Schattle notes in The practices of global citizenship (2008), awareness, responsibility, participation, cross cultural empathy, personal achievement, and international mobility are important components of global citizenship. Study abroad opportunities should be designed to facilitate most, if not all, of those components.

In addition to all of the personal transformative processes, study abroad can also provide a marketable set of skills to a future graduate. As the barriers to entry in the global marketplace continue to be minimized due to advancements in technology, more and more employers are becoming aware of the value of an employee who has challenged him or herself to gain knowledge and experience in an international learning environment. Often times, experiences abroad can provide such transformational learning opportunities, making graduates more successful in the recruitment and interview stages of seeking employment. According to the 2012 IES Abroad Recent Graduate Study, 97% of the 1,008 respondents who had studied abroad reported that they had secured a job within one year after graduation and reported on average that they had earned approximately $7,000 more in starting salaries when compared to recent graduates in the general population. For comparison, only 49% of graduates of a May 2012 Rutgers University survey of the general college graduate population reported finding work within one year of graduation. Furthermore, 90% of students in the IES survey reported getting into their first or second choice of graduate or professional school, and 84% of the study abroad alumni felt that studying abroad helped them build valuable job skills.

Additionally, study abroad has always been designed as a method to help future leaders be more effective in understanding other cultures, develop cross-cultural skills, be more aware of global economic systems, and seek creative solutions to problems that may be different from what is the norm in their home country. The resulting multicultural competency is particularly valuable in the field of education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Host Campus: A campus in London that will serve as the base of operations for the consortium. Classroom space, dorm rooms, and office space are rented out on the host campus by the consortium in order to run the program.

Professor of Record: Faculty member who is hired by the consortium to teach the individual course. This professor is a professor from one of the consortium schools and is responsible for all academic content of the course abroad, including lectures in the classroom, facilitating guest lecturers from the UK, and facilitating site visits to relevant locations.

Consortium: Partnership of 9 US institutions participating in a London based 4.5 week summer study program. The consortium is led and directed by Midwestern State University.

Research Project: In order to receive the full 6 credits, students must complete and international, in-depth research project in their field of study.

Mini-Break: A mid-program break intended to encourage individual travel and exploration. Students typically attend class Monday through Thursday, allowing three day weekends to enhance the immersion component of the local culture. During the second and third week of classes, an additional Thursday and Monday is added on the already three-day weekend, giving students a five-day break.

Faculty Led: Traditional model of a faculty member leading, arranging, administrating, and overall being responsible for every aspect of a study abroad experience.

Class: The individual class that a student enrolls in for duration of program. Students take one in-depth class and is awarded 6 semester credit hours for their work in the classroom while in London and for the individual research project started abroad and finished upon return to the US.

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