Chancellor Stresses Need for International Experiences at UW-Eau Claire
By Lisa Herstad, Travis Messerschmidt, Amber Revling
As globalization continues to be a growing trend in the business world, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is looking for ways to prepare its students to enter the global marketplace after graduation. Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich shared his views about current globalization programs existing at UW-Eau Claire and his vision for the future.
One priority for the 2008-2009 the UW-Eau Claire Strategic Plan Levin-Stankevich said is to “accelerate global learning,” by providing a global experience for all students. He said the university wants to “rethink the nature of general education, which historically has been a smorgasbord of courses.” He would like to see the university offer “gateway courses” for freshman “in order to get them more immersed in the topics.” The courses would all build on each other he said, which would culminate in a senior capstone project. The courses and possible study abroad trips would also promote foreign culture in relation to the student’s specific major.
UW-Eau Claire has several programs in place for students to immerse themselves into the culture of other countries, with study abroad the most common way. Some students may think only foreign language majors study abroad. However, the Center for International Education offers study abroad programs that focus on areas other than foreign language. For example, a program specifically for nursing majors to study abroad in Costa Rica allows them to gain experience, give of themselves, and have a chance to see the Costa Rican health care system.
Levin-Stankevich also stresses the ability to learn about a different cultural environment without even leaving the United States.
“You can go to the Navajo Reservation in western New Mexico. Do your student teaching in inner city Houston,” he said.
Ultimately, he said, “the idea is to challenge students with a different environment.”
Diversity on campus is also essential to promoting globalization and appreciation of other cultures. Levin-Stankevich said he is looking to recruit more international professors to allow students to learn from different cultural perspectives while in the classroom. However, the most common form of diversity comes from international students. Many different academic terms are offered to these students, ranging from a semester to four years.
One of UW-Eau Claire's programs, the International Buddy Project, teams a U.S. student with an international student to help them adjust to campus life. International students not only learn about U.S. culture, but Eau Claire students also have the opportunity to learn about another country through their buddy.
More than ever, universities are realizing the importance of a multicultural education. UW-Eau Claire is continually working to find new ways to expose students to culture by offering opportunities through classes, international peers, and personal study abroad experiences.
From left to right: Lisa Herstad, is a senior spanish major from Eau Claire, Wis; Amber Revling, is a senior finance and management major from Marshfield, Wis. Not Pictured:Travis Messerschmidt; They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing Class.