Excellence Abroad

Dickinson faculty receive award for global, multidisciplinary course 

By Christine M. Dugan

The Forum on Education Abroad has recognized a group of Dickinson and Akita International University faculty for Excellence in Education Abroad Curriculum Design for their interdisciplinary course, Living Well in Later Life, offered as part of Dickinson’s U.S.-Japan Global Scholars Program. The course was one of 24 nominated for the award, which was announced in celebration of International Education Week.

The award recognizes Dickinson faculty members Shawn Bender, associate professor of East Asian studies; John Henson, Charles A. Dana Professor of Biology; Dave Sarcone, associate professor of international business & management; Shalom Staub, associate provost for academic affairs; and Professor Yoshitaka Kumagai, dean of international collaboration, director of the Center for Regional Sustainability Initiatives and director of the Center for East Asia Research at Akita International University.

“We are very pleased with this award in that it recognizes the college’s commitments both to global education and to fieldwork in communities at home and abroad,” said Dickinson Provost and Dean of the College Neil Weissman. “It also reflects our faculty’s ongoing, impressive commitment to innovative teaching that provides our students with exceptional opportunities to learn and contribute.”

In the most recent Living Well in Later Life course, international student-research teams from Dickinson and Akita examined the meanings and relationships between health and aging across two cultures—Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, a region in northern Japan, and the Central Pennsylvania region, both of which have higher-than-national-average elderly populations. In both locations, students met with regional and national health-care professionals, policymakers and senior citizens, who they interviewed about their life histories and their experiences. They gathered data on quality of life in each community using quantitative and qualitative research methods and presented their findings to community members in each location.

“We were very impressed by the level of integration into the local community, the comparative nature of the course and overall academic structure of Living Well in Later Life,” said Wendy Lombardo, selection committee chair, Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies. "This course truly gives students a unique international opportunity.”

The Excellence in Education Abroad Curriculum Design award will be presented at the forum’s 11th annual conference in New Orleans next year.

The Forum on Education Abroad is the higher-education association for U.S. education abroad. Its nearly 700 institutional members from around the world are committed to high-quality education-abroad programming. The forum develops and disseminates comprehensive standards of good practice, promotes best practices and excellence in curricular design, engages in data collection and research, conducts program assessment and quality improvement, and advocates on behalf of its members and the field of education abroad.

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Published November 21, 2014