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WMU joins Internationalization Lab

Nov. 4, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A campuswide "laboratory" to advance the comprehensive internationalization of Western Michigan University's undergraduate curriculum has been launched by the Faculty Senate International Education Council and the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

WMU has committed to participate in the American Council on Education's Internationalization Laboratory, a two-year assessment and planning program. During 2008-09 and 2009-10, faculty members will engage in an array of activities guided by the ACE Laboratory format to develop, assess and implement strategies.

Barbara Hill, a senior associate with ACE's Internationalization Initiatives, was on campus Oct. 22 and 23 to help move the new program along. During her visit, she hosted informational meetings for members of the International Education Council and its working groups, various international committees that are based in WMU's colleges, and University deans, chairs and other administrators.

"All of our students must have the tools to know and judge the world around them whether they exercise those judgments in conjunction with business or other assignments abroad, whether they continue within the academy to study the great issues that globalization raises, or whether they simply venture into the voting booth in Kalamazoo or New York City, or anywhere in between," says Dr. Donald G. McCloud, Haenicke Institute dean.

"Through the internationalization laboratory, our faculty will play an important role Faculty Senate, Haenicke Institute support Internationalization Lab in re-examining our community and what we teach to ensure our graduates carry with them the needed perspectives and understandings to function in the contemporary world which we so readily label as 'globalized.'"

Both McCloud and Dr. Stephen B. Malcolm, chair of the International Education Council, will lead the campus activities that will be developed by members of the current laboratory cohort. Malcolm notes that participating in the laboratory project aligns well with WMU's mission.

"It is a wholly constructive and persuasive means of more strongly integrating international and intercultural dimensions into the teaching, research and service activities of our institution," he says.

"The interface between students and faculty is key to the University's success and dynamism, and enhanced 'internationalization' facilitates our intent to make this interface within our University community truly 'universal' and 'collegial.'"

WMU is one of seven universities and colleges ACE invited to host a laboratory this year to build on the data already collected from the 80 institutions that have participated since the program began in 2003.

The University's nationwide "lab partners" are Saint Mary's College, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Central Connecticut State, Pacific, Purdue and Temple universities. The "textbook" for the lab is "A Handbook for Advancing Comprehensive Internationalization: What Institutions Can Do and What Students Should Learn," which is published by ACE.

For more information, contact Brett Berquist, Haenicke Institute, at brett.berquist@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5890. Visit the Haenicke Institute online for periodic Internationalization Laboratory updates.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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