Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Standards of Good Practice in the Field of Education Abroad

Recently during my research, I came across an historical article (1967) that was one of the first to address the development of standards in the field of study abroad. The citation is as follows:

Durnall, Edward J. (1967, November). Study-Abroad Programs: A Critical Survey. The Journal of Higher Education, 38 (8), 450-453.

In this brief four page article, Durnall discusses his survey of undergraduate programs in Europe conducted by U.S. institutions and mentions the methods used during his program evaluation as he utilized six of fifteen principles developed at a conference on study abroad held at Mount Holyoke College in 1960.

I just returned from the 3rd annual Forum on Education Abroad conference in Austin, Texas, with the theme of Standards in a Diverse World: The Future of Education Abroad, where the Mount Holyoke conference was mentioned and discussed by colleagues such as Bill Hoffa whose History of Study Abroad, Volume I: Beginnings to 1965 was distributed to all conference attendees.

While some of the material in Durnall’s article is dated I find the following comment by Durnall to remain valid today, “while it would be hoped that all institutions with study-abroad programs would voluntarily examine their programs in the light of commonly accepted standards and either make the necessary improvements to meet these standards or discontinue the programs, the realities of higher education in the United States today make this an unlikely event.”

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