Aids Internationalization Efforts
than 90 NMU faculty, staff and students attended a Feb. 4 campus
forum on internationalizing the NMU experience.
was very pleased with the turnout," said Louise Bourgault
(CAPS), chair of the internationalization task force (ITF).
"I was also pleased with the group discussions. They were very
productive and generated original responses and a lot of new ideas.
The task force will take these ideas, digest them further, and come
up with recommendations for the university. We will prepare our
report by the end of the academic year."
addition to small group discussions, the forum included brief presentations
on the progress of nine ITF subcommittees, ranging from technology
to curriculum to study-abroad experiences.
Clarken, an NMU graduate student who spent four years in China,
said there are only four international students among Northern's
720 graduate students and only two international faculty members
among the 215 involved in graduate programs. She said there are
no formalized programs for creating a global perspective in the
graduate curriculum, or for establishing overseas internships or
are plenty of informal activities going on, but the university could
do more to help in this area," she said. "One would be
to implement an IP 598 class called "Creating a Global/International
Perspective" that would spread across all graduate fields."
ideas Clarken presented include NMU-sponsored research programs
abroad, graduate student and faculty exchanges, distance learning
centers where NMU graduate programs could be offered in other countries
via technology, and an English as a Second Language (ESL) program
offered by the NMU English department, not an outside firm as in
also spoke on behalf of the technology subcommittee and addressed
ways that "easy and immediate" uses of technology, with
existing resources, could help internationalize NMU.
would like to develop an international hub so that international
students could access all relevant information with just a few clicks,"
she said. "The hub could have basic information about the university,
QuickTime interviews with faculty, students and alumni in different
languages, video journals of study-abroad experiences and other
elements. Some of this is already available online – it's just a
matter of organizing and presenting it in a more effective way."
Oesleby (Academic Information
Services) spent 24 years working abroad. She said Northern must
increase the number of international students on campus to support
its goal of internationalizing the experience for all students,
not just those who are able to travel overseas. Oesleby said the
numbers have declined from a high of 109 in 2000 to about 50 this
year. Her subcommittee established a long-term goal of having international
students comprise 5 percent of Northern's student body.
can do this by involving international alumni and faculty in recruitment
efforts, and by having NMU international students accompany recruiters
to other countries," she added. "We can also develop recruitment
materials in foreign languages. Northern could reestablish its summer
language program so that foreign students come here to improve their
language skills over the summer, then transition immediately to
a baccalaureate program in the fall. Increasing the number of international
students is the first step. Increasing the number of international
faculty is the second step."
Affairs) said semester-long study abroad opportunities have increased,
but the long-term goal is for NMU to create its own sites overseas,
rather than work through consortiums. "These would be NMU-owned
buildings with an administrator and core group of faculty offering
courses specifically for NMU credit."
the short term, Wetting said Northern should work to increase study-abroad
scholarship funds because it costs an estimated $10,000 to $12,000
for a semester overseas. There is only one scholarship currently
designated for that purpose.
students who can't commit an entire semester, another ITF subcommittee
is working on redesigning short-course, faculty-led study abroad
opportunities. Richard Eathorne (Geography) said
the first step was creating a new image, which is reflected in the
formal name of Concentrated Learning Experiences Abroad. He said
the subcommittee is working on administrative and academic issues
associated with CLEA programs.
ITF, comprised of 30 members from various disciplines, meets about
once a month. The nine subcommittees meet biweekly.