WMU Home > About WMU > WMU News

WMU News

Faculty grant available to explore study abroad

March 12, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Generous funding for Western Michigan University faculty interested in gaining a first-hand experience of what it's like to develop and lead a short-term, summer study abroad program is being offered through a new grant provided by the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

Wednesday, March 19, is the deadline to apply for the faculty discovery grant, which offsets the cost of participating in one of 17 summer 2008 study abroad programs led by WMU faculty. Up to 75 percent of expenses will be covered for eligible participating faculty members.

Some of the 17 programs faculty members may choose from offer classes in a broad range of disciplines while others are specific to a major. The programs run from two to six weeks, offer varying levels of academic credit and are conducted in some of the world's most interesting destinations, including Alexandria, Egypt; Beijing; Sao Paulo, Brazil; London; Prague, Czech Republic; Quebec; and Tokyo.

The Haenicke Institute developed the grant after hosting a luncheon in November with the International Education Council of the Faculty Senate to encourage development of faculty-led summer study abroad programs. More than 50 faculty members attended, and many expressed great interest in learning more about summer study abroad.

"Introducing a group of students to another culture can be a challenging and rewarding experience--anything but boring," says Brett Berquist, executive director of international programs in the Haenicke Institute. "Our faculty's dedication to globalizing the learning experience is rewarded with the satisfaction of seeing the immediate effect on their students' perspective of the world. Long-term research contacts and projects often arise from the time spent with university partners on these programs, as well."

Dr. Stephen Malcolm, professor of biological sciences, leads one of the programs faculty members may participate in under the faculty grant. His Biology in Belize offering is a two-week trip that will be conducted in Summer Session I for three hours of academic credit.

"Traveling with an existing course allows faculty to become acquainted with experiential learning in a new place and to dispel anxieties that might exist about the logistics of leading and mentoring students abroad," Malcolm says. "It's also a great way to generate ideas about new courses and new possibilities for existing courses or programs.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Larry ten Harmsel, retired dean of the Lee Honors College and professor emeritus of English, has been introducing WMU students and others to European art, architecture and culture through WMU's Grand Tour of Europe.

"Among my most rewarding experiences has been the sense of wonder I see in the faces of our students as they come to realize that Paris or Rome or Florence can be a living textbook for them," ten Harmsel says. "Since this is often their first experience of studying abroad, the intensity of the setting, along with the immediacy of learning, is a pleasure that stays with them for a lifetime."

Visit the Haenicke Institute on the Web to learn about eligibility requirements or apply for the faculty grant to take part in a summer study abroad program.

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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400