Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Graduate Student Roundtable on Research at NAFSA

At the upcoming NAFSA: Association of International Educators annual conference in Washington, D.C. my colleague Louis Rizzo and I will be co-chairing the Graduate Student Roundtable on Research on Wednesday, May 28th from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you are a faculty member, graduate student, recent graduate or considering applying for an advanced degree I encourage you to attend this discussion session.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chinese Identities

One of my research interests focuses on heritage seeking in a study abroad context. Some time ago I came across the book Chineseness Across Borders: Renegotiating Chinese Identities in China and the United States (2004) by Andrea Louie. Following is a description of the book that I prepared:

The Author and the Evolution of her Research
Andrea Louie is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University. Her research for this book first began while she was a graduate student in 1992 when she participated in the Search of Roots Program and visited her paternal grandfather’s village. A subsequent return trip in 1993 with her parents led her to delve further into this research upon her return to graduate school. In 1994 she was again involved with the Roots program but this time as an observer and a final research trip in 1995 allowed her to conduct more research in the field.

The introduction is very detailed and begins with Louie’s experience going to China and visiting her relatives. It then dives into the “Roots” program and how it has discovered different perspectives and issues that Chinese from China and Chinese Americans have amongst each other. She then starts introducing each chapter in her book to give the reader a glimpse of what is to come.

Chapter 1
Louie begins by providing some historical context of the migration of Chinese from the Guangdong Province to the United States. She then begins to weave the concepts of Chinese identity and connections to the homeland into the development of the Summer Camp and Roots Program.

Chapter 2
Louie illustrates the experiences of the Roots program participants in China. She describes how the younger generations of Chinese Americans craft their Chinese identity through multiple contexts. They craft their Chinese identity from the mixture of family histories, family kinship ties, American urban hip hop culture, Japanese manga, Hong Kong kung fu movies and Asian American activism. They see Chinese identity through the lens of Chinese American, Asian and Asian American. Louie defines this process of forming identity by Chinese Americans as a socially, geographically and transnational process.

Chapter 3
Louie discusses the Chinese Americans’ identity construction within the context of U.S. multiculturalism. Chinese American culture is viewed as inherent within U.S. multiculturalism. Chinese Americans are voluntarily or involuntarily attached to the static representations of Chinese tradition and culture that is rooted in mainland China in the past. They are thus marginalized from U.S. mainstream culture. The narratives from the program participants reveal that American-born Chinese Americans have less or no direct ties to the concept of authentic Chinese culture in mainland China. In U.S. multicultural society, the identity construction of Chinese Americans coexists with multiple levels of identifications such as Asian American, Chinese American, or just plain American, middle class Chinese American who live outside of Chinatown, Chinese Americans from the upper class Hong Kong or Taiwan origins, first, second or third generation- Chinese Americans and family ancestors’ geographic regions in China. Louie concludes the chapter that Chinese Americans are creating their own contemporary form of identity based on their ancestral ties to China and their homeland the USA where they were born and grew up.

Chapter 4
The Open Policy has allowed increased exposure to foreign images, such as print and television media, which has allowed the mainland Chinese to compare themselves more to foreigners and China to the outside world. The mainland Chinese see these images as promoting the positives aspects of life in China. Some negatives of the other countries include: mistreatment of minorities, violence, requirement to work twice as hard for the same living standard, and the high cost of living. Not having to depend financially on oversees relatives is seen as a symbol of pride. Oversees relatives are seen as “assimilated (tonghua) to other less civilized cultures ... are not culturally suited for life in China or abroad (156)”

Chapter 5
Louis delves fully into the discussion of the Youth Festival, which is held in the Guangdong Province of China, that attracts over four hundred young people of Chinese descent (huayi) from across the globe including youth from Canada, France, Germany, Madagascar, Malaysia, Tahiti and the United States. The primary goal of the Youth Festival and Summer Camps is to “invoke connections of blood and culture for the huayi in order to reacquaint them with their motherland.”

Chapter 6
Louie provides a description of the Roots program and looks at how the Roots interns construct their own sense of Chineseness and in particular, their Chinese Americanness. The chapter ends with a discussion on the future of the program and who (the Chinese government sponsors, the Chinese American community sponsors, the Chinese American leaders, the interns or their parents) will lead it into the future.

Louie returns to visit her relatives in Guangzhou seven years after her last visit and notes first hand the changes she sees in the town’s infrastructure and her family's attitudes and situation. Some of the things she finds, for example, are that her relatives are more prosperous and interest in immigration has decreased in the larger and richer sections of China but the poorer farming communities continue to see America as a chance to become wealthy. Pursuing one’s higher education abroad is encouraged because officials and educators believe the students will return with the knowledge to help China instead of remaining abroad.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forum on Education Abroad Annual Conference

A little over two weeks ago, the Forum on Education Abroad held its 4th annual conference in Boston on April 2-4, 2008. My understanding is that there were over 700 registered participants which exceeded expectations. I think that the Forum’s leadership and development of a Code of Ethics since the New York and Connecticut Attorney Generals began their investigations into study abroad early last autumn was a leading factor in the overwhelming attendance. All the staff of the Forum on Education Abroad and all of the colleagues who volunteered their time in planning and working the conference deserve a big round of applause.

Conference sessions on standards of good practice and the code of ethics were prevalent throughout the conference. All conference attendees also received hard copies of the Code of Ethics for Education Abroad (2008) and the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, 3rd Edition (2008).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI)

Since May, 2007 I’ve become quite interested in a new assessment tool available to institutions in the United States to assess the global perspectives of their undergraduate student population. The Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI), developed by Larry Braskamp, David Braskamp, and Kelly Carter Merrill, is gaining in popularity and in use by institutions across the United States and, in particular, with professionals in the field of education abroad. I will discuss the GPI as part of my presentation at the upcoming Research in International Education workshop I’m chairing next week for International Educators of Illinois and as a panelist at the Assessment Toolbox for International Educators session at the upcoming NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference in Washington, D.C. I am copying and pasting text from one of the handouts I’ll be distributing during my presentations with permission of the authors:

Global Perspectives Inventory

The GPI is an instrument designed to measure students’ global perspectives, with an emphasis on the importance of cultural influences on their holistic development.

The GPI is a survey of 46 items plus a few biographical items. It has been specifically designed to provide self-reports of students’ perspectives in three domains of holistic student development--cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. The six scales are briefly described on the other side.

The GPI can provide evidence of students’ global perspectives:
· At entry, during and at graduation from college
· At entry and conclusion of an “education/study abroad” experience

You can learn more about the GPI by going to
www.gpinv.org. Click on “Development” to read about the purpose and uses of GPI. If you want to see a sample institutional report, click on “Interpretative Guide and Institutional Report.”

You can take the GPI by going to
www.gpinv.org/survey. When asked about your institutional affiliation, type in this code: 9950.

Institutions can participate at no cost until June 30, 2008. For the 2008-2009 academic year, an institution can have unlimited access to the GPI for a license fee of $100. The GPI can be put on a local server or printed for administration. You will be provided with scale scoring keys. Normative information will be provided in the GPI Manual. You can have access to our online survey for $500, and can administer the GPI up to two different times. We do the analyses and provide the reports.

If you have any questions or comments, please write Larry Braskamp at

Theoretical Background of GPI

The construction of GPI is based on the developmental perspective that students are on a journey during college. In this journey, students are given opportunities to reflect on three “big questions”:

“How do I know?” reflects the Cognitive dimension. Cognitive development is centered on one’s knowledge and understanding of what is true and important to know. It includes viewing knowledge and knowing with greater complexity and no longer relying on external authorities to have absolute truth.

“Who am I?” reflects the Intrapersonal dimension. Intrapersonal development focuses on one becoming more aware of and integrating one’s personal values and self-identity into one’s personhood.

“How do I relate to others?” reflects the Interpersonal dimension. Interpersonal development is centered on one’s willingness to interact with persons with different social norms and cultural backgrounds, acceptance of others, and being comfortable when relating to others.

Description of the six GPI scales

The Cognitive domain consists of two scales: Knowing and Knowledge.

Knowing. Complexity of one’s view of the importance of cultural context in judging what is important to know and value.

Knowledge. Degree of understanding and awareness of various cultures and their impact on our global society; proficiency in languages.

The Intrapersonal domain consists of two scales: Identity and Affect.

Identity. Level of awareness of unique identity; degree of acceptance of one’s ethnic, racial, and gender dimensions of one’s identity.

Affect. Level of respect and acceptance of cultural perspectives different from one’s own; degree of emotional confidence when living in complex situations.

The Interpersonal domain consists of two scales: Social interactions and Social responsibility.

Social Interactions. Degree of engagement with others who are different from oneself; degree of cultural sensitivity in living in pluralistic setting.

Social responsibility. Level of commitment to interdependent living.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund

The Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund or “The Rowe Fund” in cooperation with the Organization of American States grants interest free students loans to individuals from Latin America and Caribbean countries to help cover their studies and research at accredited institutions of higher education in the United States. Loans are made on the understanding that upon completion of their studies, recipients will return to their home countries and assist in their countries’ economic development and social integration. Additional information is available here: http://www.oas.org/rowe/.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

OECD International Initiative on Assessing Higher Education Learning Outcomes

In April 2007, the OECD began an initiative to develop an international assessment of higher education learning outcomes. You can access the OECD website that that has more information on the initiative including a 49 page .pdf working paper here. You can read an interesting article on this initiative from the September 19, 2007 insidehighered.com here.

Recently, ACE sent a letter to OECD outlining concerns with this international assessment initiative. You can access this letter as well as important links and documents on the ACE website here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Request for Statements of Interest: University Hosts for the International Leaders in Education Program

The U.S. Department of State and IREX (the International Research & Exchanges Board) announce an open-competition for U.S. universities to design and host a semester-long professional development program for up to 20 secondary-level teachers of English as a Foreign Language, social studies, civics, mathematics and science for the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP). ILEP will bring outstanding international secondary school teachers to the United States for one semester. The goals of the program are to:

* Enhance teachers' expertise in their teaching discipline and equip them with a deeper understanding of best practices in teaching methodologies, lesson planning, and the use of technology in teaching.

* Create among educators a more nuanced understanding of the U.S.

* Develop productive and lasting relationships and mutual understanding between U.S. and international teachers and their students.

* Contribute to improving teaching in participating countries by preparing participants to serve as teacher leaders, who upon returning home will apply and share their experience and skills with their peers and students.

For further information about the ILEP program and for instructions on submitting Statements of Interest, please contact Amira Maaty at (202) 628-8188 ext. 148 or amaaty@irex.org.
Statement of Interest Deadline: 5:00 PM, Friday, May 9, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Research in International Education On-Site Workshops

International Educators of Illinois (IEI) is offering two workshops on research in international education. Here are the coordinates:

Date: Friday, April 18th, 2008
Time: 1pm-4pm
Location: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
Cost: $40.00
Presenters: Louis Rizzo, Illinois Institute of Technology and Kim Taylor, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville

Date: Friday, April 25th, 2008
Time: 1pm-4pm
Location: Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
Cost: $40.00
Presenters: David Comp, University of Chicago and Louis Rizzo, Illinois Institute of Technology

Pre-registration required ~ deadline is April 11, 2008

Please send completed registration form with payment to:
Emily Gorlewski
Study Abroad Office, Northern Illinois University
Williston Hall 417
DeKalb, IL 60115

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

African Americans to Study Abroad in Turkey

The Turkish Daily News recently reported that the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Diversity Abroad have teamed up to award up to 50 grants per year in the amount of $2,000 for full-time African American undergraduates who have been accepted to a study abroad program for one semester at a Turkish university. You can access the article here: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=100378