During the first round of IN/CO Grant submissions, the Alliance received three extremely strong proposals on global education from faculty at James Madison University and Elon University. Given that all three proposals dealt with engaging difference and effectively evaluating students’ experiences, the Alliance Provosts’ Council asked these three groups to participate in a Think Tank, aimed at developing one common research outcome.
The Think Tank was a success, and resulted in a $40,000 IN/CO Grant award for the combined team’s project, “Engaging Difference: A Deep Dive Into the Assessment of Transformative Learning.”
The field of global education fosters increasing emphasis on understanding the impact of study abroad and away for multiple reasons: student growth and learning, educational pedagogies and policies, financial implications, and many more. The study will address the complex interaction between student characteristics (demographic variables providing information about who the students are) and the experiences they have during or after the study abroad/away.
Participants in all off-campus study programs offered at James Madison University and Elon University will be invited to participate in the study in the first year to maximize response rate. In the subsequent years, additional CAA institutions will be invited to participate in the project. Semester-long and short-term for-credit study abroad and study away programs will be included in the study.
To broaden the potential impact of this project, the research team will partner with Dr. Craig Shealy, Executive Director of the International Beliefs and Values Institute and Professor of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University. Dr. Shealy works with the IBAVI’s Executive and Advisory Boards to lead and coordinate a wide range of scholarly, educational, and service activities and partnerships with individuals and organizations in the United States and internationally, including Cultivating the Globally Sustainable Self, a multi-year, multi-institution Summit Series hosted by James Madison University. Several members of the grant team (below) will have opportunities to attend and participate in the Summit Series.
This grant will also be supported by Core Collaborative International research methodologists Jennifer Wiley, ABD, and Emi Iwatani, Ph.D.
James Madison University hosted an initial in-person meeting in July 2018 to develop a project plan and train Elon project leaders on the primary assessment instrument being utilized, the JMU-developed Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory (BEVI). Both institutions secured IRB approvals and are gathering data on the types of study away programs offered at each institution (e.g., program type, duration, location, community engagement, service-learning). The project team intends to begin data collection at Elon University in August 2018. The timeline for data collection will differ at each institution due to the timing and nature of the study abroad and study away programs. The aim is to conduct the pre-test before students depart, the first post-test soon after they return, and the second post-test 6 to 8 months later.
To spark further innovation and broaden collaborative potential of this grant, Co-PI Vesna Hart (JMU), Co-PI Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler (Elon), and Alliance Executive Director Lindsey Interlante were also invited to contribute to JMU’s “Cultivating the Globally Sustainable Self Summit Series,” — a multi-year, multi-institution initiative that brings together scholars, practitioners, and leaders from around the world to address the most pressing issues of our day, including global education, cultural understanding, and sustainability.