As the flagship of the University system in Maryland, there is a tendency to assume that only big grants and major research projects will help cause new things to happen. In UMD's case, the first grant was just the lever needed to support a major initiative in internationalizing their teacher education programs and to the development of critical infrastructure for realizing widespread internationalization goals. The result is a campus that has evolved into a leader within the state and within the field of internationalization.
Location: Small Beginnings Lead to Systemic Change
The initial small grant helped launch a cornerstone program that led to establishment of a college-wide infrastructure to initiate and support systemic internationalization efforts. The creation of the Office of International Initiatives, under the portfolio of the associate dean for teacher education, outreach, and international programs, was a key. Dean Donna Wiseman identified Jim Greenberg - who was already a strong leader within the college of education with a passion for the topic and the experience in building coalitions - to manage the internationalization efforts under the leadership of Associate Dean Steve Koziol.
It was a strategic decision to invest part of the initial support into the actual creation of an office within the College of Education. Providing both a physical location and budget lines assigned for activities related to internationalization efforts elevated the importance of the initiative among faculty. In choosing a leader with experience in coalition building and with a passion for internationalization, an effort was launched that had boundless possibilities.
The dean and associate dean also paved the way for sustainability, supporting the work of the international office both financially and programmatically after the first grant had ended. Jim Greenberg, Steve Koziol, Letitia Williams and others worked extensively with offices within the College of Education and across campus to build opportunities for collaboration and to highlight the work of the College's internationalization efforts.
Liaising: Within the College of Education and Beyond
The first project for the International Office was to pilot and implement the Global Awareness in Teacher Education (GATE) Fellows Program, a faculty development effort that has now achieved national prominence as a model and lever for curriculum and program change. The program was designed to address the knowledge and background gap that existed for many faculty, and to begin additional training and facilitated interaction to support better teacher candidate understanding of global education. The program is dedicated to building a cohort of enthusiastic faculty committed to the continued internationalization of the College of Education, and to enhance the global dimensions of courses they teach. The first two GATE cohorts were funded by grants from the Longview Foundation for the purpose of enhancing global and international dimensions of the teacher education program. The program has since become institutionalized and is funded by the College, has broadened its focus, and has since supported several cohorts of faculty participants. Most recently, the concept was broadened to include graduate students and currently supports the Global Graduate Fellows Program.
The GATE Fellows program is modeled on the long-standing campus Lilly-Center for Teaching Excellence Fellows program, which provides opportunities for faculty to engage in dialogue and faculty development. Each Fellow is awarded a $2,000 stipend and a modest budget for curriculum development. Fellows participate fully in bi-weekly seminar meetings and develop a learning community focused on internationalizing through curriculum transformation. In 2010, the program included faculty from outside teacher education in order to extend internationalization efforts across the full range of College of Education undergraduate and graduate programs. The GATE Fellows program success laid the foundation for a U.S. Department of Education Title VI UISFL Grant to transform elementary teacher education programs, a process currently underway and intended as the first step in long-range internationalization of all levels of the teacher education programs.
Another small outside grant supported liaising more deeply with the community in the surrounding area. A pilot for a Principals Academy was launched in 2010. The Principals' Academy helped complement the internationalization efforts by bringing in professional development school partners so that students would see consistency in their field placement sites regarding commitment to internationalization at all levels. Designed to promote global growth, fourteen school leaders were chosen to participate from across several school systems, representing a diverse population of educators and students. Following GATE Fellows program model, the school leaders met regularly and completed a school-based project based upon global education themes that were important and relevant to their communities. Their work culminated in presentations at the UMD International Education Summit in the fall of 2011.
These foundational programs contributed to development of a genuinely systemic base and became centrally important in winning a U.S. Department of State contract (now entering a fourth year) to host the Distunguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program for international teachers. The Fulbright program brings 20 experienced teachers from eight countries to campus and professional development schools for an entire semester. The Fulbright Distinguished Educator program has had enormous impact on the College of Education, and is another cornerstone in successive development of the broad internationalization agenda at UMD.
Leadership: On Campus, Across the State
Another small grant provided the stimulus for statewide leadership in engaging the State Department of Education and other colleges and universities in visible internationalization efforts.
First, through statewide colloquia supported by Longview as part of the GATE Fellows grant, awareness and excitement has extended to other institutions and program leaders. UMD College Park hosts its state-wide international education summit every fall. Public and private colleges and universities come to participate, as do educators from partner schools. During this day-long event, the current cohort of GATE Fellows/Global Graduate Fellows has presented their projects to this broad audience, and significant keynote speakers and discussion sessions have complemented poster session presentations by schools, colleges, and organizations from across the state. In this setting, national and state education leaders gather with higher education representatives to discuss opportunities and implications for building global perspectives as they engage on topics related to education reform.
Second, the Maryland State Department of Education, in collaboration with UMD, held a state policy summit on education in 2010 that engaged business, government, and the education community around the importance of building global competence in teachers and students. The efforts were funded through a Longview grant. UMD partnered with the State Department of Education on a policy development initiative which began at the summit and continued on to develop policy recommendations in a "White Paper" promoting and recommending internationalization of education initiatives.
Maryland is a transformed program that has had influence on their peers in the state and around the country, and recently was awarded the Best Practice Award in Supporting Global Diversity by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Their program demonstrates that small beginnings can lead to significant sustained changes both on campus and in the communities in Maryland.
Questions to Consider
- Does your college of education have an international education office? What are the barriers to establishing one? What opportunities would exist for an international office? What are natural opportunities for partnerships and support mechanisms?
- Can the work of your institution extend into the community like UMD did with their Principals Program? What other connections can be made?
- What opportunities exist to highlight the research related to international education done by faculty at your institution? Could you hold a summit? What neighboring colleges would be good partners in such an effort? Is the climate right to involve state leadership? What ongoing policy initiatives can you tie the international conversation to?