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L2.6

Internationalizing the Millsaps Campus

How would this plan work?
Why does Millsaps need this plan?
What are the learning outcomes for this plan?
How could we assess these learning outcomes?
Which students would this plan affect?
Would this replace or augment other programs on campus?
What resources would this plan require?
Are there any particular obstacles to this plan?

Contact person: Julian Murchison
For a copy of the proposal, click here.



How would this plan work?

  • The plan aims to infuse an ethos of international engagement and awareness into the campus as a whole. It would require students, faculty, and staff to embrace this ethos and to explore the ways that such an ethos will inform the life of the college, both in terms of the curriculum and extending to social experiences on campus. The goal is to make this ethos part of Millsaps' distinct identity and to make Millsaps a destination for faculty, staff, students, and visitors interested in international engagement.
  • Possible Components of the Larger Plan

    • Creation of International Space on Campus - A usable space that is distinctively international will be an important part of the larger plan to internationalize the campus. Ideally this would be a dorm or house, but it might take various incarnations or be developed incrementally. The idea is to have a space that marks the college's commitment to internationalization and which provides a home for the international aspects of the life of the college. This space will allow for the blending of the curricular and the co-curricular and should foster serious, engaged, and intellectual endeavors throughout the life of the college. It should be a space in which international students feel welcome and which invites the exchange of a wide range of experiences and viewpoints. As this distinctive space takes shape it should become key to the college's identity and a social and intellectual center for the college. See the Level 2 proposal for a Millsaps Center for Global Engagement drafted by Eric Griffin for a complementary proposal that provides a robust description of such an international space.
    • Creation of International Programming - We now have occasional international events on campus, but internationalization would mean that international programming would become a more regular and more central part of the life of the college. International programming can include film screenings, meals, conversations and roundtables to name just a few possibilities. The growth of such programming would help to expand the social and intellectual offerings on campus and to create an increasingly internationalized community. The international space would be the focal point of such programming.
    • Creating an Avenue for Sharing International Experiences - Right now there are relatively few avenues for international students or American students returning from study abroad to share their experiences and to incorporate them into their curricular and co-curricular lives in Jackson. New avenues should be fostered for sharing these experiences with a specific eye to the ways that all students can learn and benefit from these experiences. Possibilities include an annual collection of the best student writing about international experiences that becomes part of the reading for Core 1 and other classes and a Friday Forum each fall given over to the best student presentations on the same. Allowing students to learn about the experiences of the students that sit beside them in the classroom and live next door is bound to foster exciting dialogue in a variety of circumstances.
    • Targeted Recruiting of International Students - With a welcoming campus environment and with a strategic rationale, targeted recruiting of international students becomes a key part of the puzzle. Targeted recruiting would mean recruiting both in areas that are likely to yield students and in areas that would provide the campus with a range of students that will contribute to the international engagement on campus. The college's connections to the Methodist church as well as its commitment to serving underserved populations may have particular relevance in this recruiting. Recruiting also offers us the opportunity to make our study abroad programs more reciprocal if we bring students from the places that our students visit to study at Millsaps.
    • Enhancing Language Study Opportunities with Students who are Native Speakers - Several of our study abroad programs currently include preparatory language study. On an increasingly internationalized campus, exposure to multiple languages enhances learning opportunities. One way to capitalize on these opportunities is to develop a purposeful plan to use students who are native speakers as language tutors. Possibilities are wide-ranging, including the modern languages that we currently offer as well as Japanese, Swahili, Maya, and other languages.
    • Curricular Enhancements - There are many possible ways to enhance the curriculum by infusing a commitment to internationalization. Incorporation of readings in Core 1 is one example. Another possibility would be the development of a "International Seminar", which would invite students to explore and analyze a variety of international experiences in a class. This would help students returning from study abroad to process their experiences.
    • Staffing and Training - Accomplishing these ends will require some additional commitment to staffing and training. Staffing in both student life and international education is very limited. It would be unfair to expect these offices to handle all of the additional responsibilities that would accompany these initiatives. Additional staffing dedicated to fostering internationalization would be crucial. It would also be very important to offer training of various sorts to faculty and staff.

Why does Millsaps need this plan?

  • The College is sending more and more of its students to study abroad. Millsaps is also welcoming increasing numbers of international students to our campus for both short and long-term studies. These are both important and positive developments. While there are many people working hard to make these things happen, so far there has been relatively little purposeful and wide-ranging discussion of the overall implications of these developments or how to fully leverage the benefits, especially in terms of the curriculum and co-curricular experiences for students. This proposal seeks to develop and infuse an international ethos into the Millsaps campus. Approximately half of our students do not currently study abroad during their time at Millsaps. Even those students that do not study abroad or have significant international experiences will benefit from an internationalized campus that will invite and expect international engagement and awareness of everyone. The focus is the Millsaps campus in Jackson with the goal of making it truly international. Doing so will allow us to build on existing strengths and realize potential for a distinctive identity and set of experiences. If successful, students and others will be drawn to the college because of its internationalized features.
  • Some key questions:
    • How can we make the most of the knowledge and experiences that students bring back to campus after studying abroad?
    • How does this knowledge and experience enhance the learning that happens at Millsaps?
    • What do we need to do at Millsaps in order to reap the greatest rewards from study abroad?
    • How can we create an environment that is conducive to learning and experiencing life in the southern United States for international students?
    • How can we maximize the learning opportunities on the Millsaps campus for students that study abroad, international students, and their fellow classmates?
    • How do we best invite all of our students to international engagement and awareness?

What are the learning outcomes for this plan?

  • Internationalizing the campus ought to enhance students' mastery of several of the college's liberal arts abilities -- specifically communication, social and cultural awareness, and historical consciousness.  Students will learn new ways to communicate and new aspects of communication when they regularly find themselves in both academic and social circumstances with students with a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds and experiences. Social and cultural awareness will be improved by virtue of regular engagement with international experiences and issues inside and outside of the classroom. When invited and expected to think internationally, historical consciousness will necessarily be expanded to include larger horizons and increasingly complex understandings of history.

How could we assess these learning outcomes?

  • The outcomes of internationalizing the campus, specifically the effects on liberal arts abilities like communication, social and cultural awareness, and historical consciousness, will be tangible and measurable. This measurement will require reliable ways to assess the liberal arts abilities generally. While we do not assess the abilities regularly and reliably at this point, there has been some recent discussion about ways to improve this necessary assessment of the abilities. With such assessment in place, it would be relatively easy to assess the learning outcomes of internationalizing the campus. The easiest way to measure the effects would be to compare assessments of student outcomes before and after implementation of this plan - successful implementation of the plan should result in improved results in these areas. Assessments at the beginning and end of a student's time at Millsaps could also be collected and compared to measure the contributions of international engagement over the course of the student's time at Millsaps. The effects of different aspects and dimensions of the plan could also be assessed by tracking students' participation in and exposure to various components and testing for correlations between participation/exposure and learning outcomes (i.e., liberal arts abilities).

Which students would this plan affect?

  • To the degree to which the internationalization of the campus is successful, the entire student population would be affected. Some students (those more directly involved with curricular and co-curricular components) would be more affected than others.

Would this replace or augment other programs on campus?

  • This plan obviously builds on existing initiatives in international education, student life, and admissions. It does not need to replace any existing programs, but it can provide context and support for existing things like support for international students (including MIBS, Sheryl Wilburn's office and the office of international education), international student recruitment, and study abroad initiatives. With appropriate support, these offices will be key collaborators in the process.

What resources would this plan require?

  • The most significant resources would be required to cultivate a designated space on campus and to provide adequate staffing and training in order to make the plan successful. Recruitment of international students would require an examination of how scholarship resources are allocated and would probably benefit from some targeted resources. The other components of the plan require relatively minimal resources. Support for co-curricular programming and curricular development would also be desirable.

Are there any particular obstacles to this plan?

  • There no insurmountable obstacles to this plan. The plan would require some financial resources. Beyond that, the biggest obstacle would probably be an all too pervasive sense of provincialism on the part of many. The general challenge is to help faculty, staff, and students understand how they benefit from international engagement and awareness. In an increasingly global and interconnected world, these benefits ought to become apparent.


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