As part of the On-Site Perspectives course, students partnered with three organizations in France that had an opportunity to improve some aspect of their program. Three student teams (of 2-3 students) partnered with an organization to learn about their program, the nature of their problem, and propose a solution. Students presented their solutions to their respective organizations at the end of the on-site portion of the course.
Middlebury Schools Abroad Paris – Centre Madeleine
Safety and security are of the utmost importance in the field of International Education. As an American organization based outside of the U.S., Middlebury Schools Abroad (and any foreign-based American study abroad provider) must follow American laws, as well as the laws of the host country. New changes to Title IX have required the Centre Madeleine to examine these new changes and modify their policies accordingly. Staff at the Centre Madeleine will also help other international educators in France navigate American and French policies related to sexual harassment by presenting at the APUAF (Association of American Programs and Universities in France) conference in 2019.
Three students worked with the staff to develop a resource bank and presentation framework for APUAF to help prepare for the upcoming conference. The work these students have done will create more awareness and understanding of American and French policy among International Education professionals, improved policies and practices related to sexual harassment issues within educational institutions, and increased safety of students, staff, and faculty on-site.
CEA Abroad Paris
CEA is an American study abroad provider with offices all over the world. Their mission is to create and facilitate opportunities for academic achievement, global competence, and personal growth through quality international education. At CEA, in addition to time spent in the classroom, quality international education also means providing their students with a diverse array of cultural activities and events. Because they offer so many different activities, they were interested in finding the best fit for different student groups based on student learning.
Two students partnered with CEA to design a survey to assess learning consistently across all cultural activities and events. To realize this project, the team developed standard student learning objectives, created unique student learning outcomes for individual activities, and created an assessment model that could be easily replicated by the organization for future programs. The completion of this project will result in the center’s increased understanding of students’ perception of their learning through participation in cultural activities and events, leading to better matching of cultural activities with the needs of diverse student groups.
Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris
Vassar-Wesleyan is a study abroad program provided by the joint collaboration of two American schools, Vassar College and Wesleyan University. Vassar-Wesleyan provides students with an immersive experience by giving them the opportunity to study in French, have direct contact with French and European life, and be supported through classes at their Paris-based center. However, the program’s staff, like many other international educators in France, are facing challenges as Generation Z students move into higher education. Vassar-Wesleyan faces the challenge of communicating with their Generation Z students, who have not been utilizing or responding consistently to program information.
A team of two students took on this challenge and offered several solutions and techniques for the staff at Vassar-Wesleyan to better engage their students. Utilizing student development theory and Generation Z research, the team envisioned a simplified system of communication that would engage students using their preferred styles of communication, rely on students’ trust among their peers, and utilize a minimum number of technology platforms. The team’s research will provide Vassar-Wesleyan with the opportunity to better connect with their students and increase student engagement with program information.