By: Dr. Mary F. Price, Director of Teaching and Learning
Designing short-term study abroad programs relevant and responsive to all learners and effective at generating global learning outcomes requires intention, practice, reflection, and feedback. For some of us, it is an aspirational goal, a work always in progress. For others, these goals seem a daunting prospect, surfacing insecurities we hold about ourselves as educators.
As much as our views of teaching and learning can impact efforts to evolve as educators, so too does time. We all juggle competing demands and must decide where holding space to work on our teaching resides amongst a long list of priorities. More than we might like to admit, many of us find that it may tumble down our “to do” list despite our best intentions. Investing in our teaching can be an even heavier lift when we work in isolation or when the values and goals we bring to our global teaching are not supported. The Global Learning Launchpad (GLL) both engages and counters these concerns by creating a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary peer community devoted to improving global learning in short-term instructor-led study abroad programs.
What is the GLL?
The GLL blends elements of a faculty/professional learning community with those of a peer mentoring circle. Groups of short-term program leaders meet as a small cohort monthly over a five-month period [January – May 2023], working together to enhance a short-term study abroad program they are planning or want to reimagine.
Monthly community meetings are complemented by self-directed learning modules and peer coaching from colleagues steeped in the Standards of Good Practice in Education Abroad and in facilitating global learning. Participants leave the program having translated a program plan into tangible teaching and learning products they can use in the next iteration of their program.
In 2023, The Forum will offer two cohort options: a fully virtual cohort and a hybrid cohort. Cohorts are limited to fifteen members. The activities and curriculum are the same for both cohorts, save one respect. Hybrid cohort members will substitute one of their virtual meetings for meeting onsite during The Forum’s 19th Annual Conference in March 2023. Meeting onsite will provide cohort members with additional opportunities to network and participate in workshops and sessions offered during the conference. Scholarships are available to support participation in both cohorts. The GLL program webpage includes strategies for “making the ask” to raise support from others at your institution beyond the international programs or study abroad office.
Educator and scholar, Parker Palmer reminds us that “we teach who we are” – calling each of us to the practice of reflective teaching. This call holds in education abroad as well. In the daily grind of faculty and administrative work, prioritizing time for reflection to examine our practice is often lost in the shuffle. The GLL offers participants a community space to examine, reimagine and alter our practices so each of us can live into our values and commitments as global educators.
While the GLL is about improving the quality of short-term course/programs and to improve global learning outcomes. It is more than this. It is a place:
- to identify and build on your unique strengths, to learn the limits of what you know and benefit from the wisdom in the room.
- to cultivate a sense of belonging to a community of educators with shared interests and concerns.
- where you can prioritize time to achieve your teaching and learning goals, including access to practice partners to help you stay accountable and motivated.
- where you can learn tips to document the value of your work in education abroad, legitimizing your case for excellence/advancement.
We hope you can join us!