Stephen Dove works with Trinity University to explore improving study away programs

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Experts, News 28 Mar 2014

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CentreTerm, Centre College’s three-week January semester, is a hallmark of student and faculty experiences because it allows for short but immersive travel opportunities not often possible during long semesters. Assistant Professor of History Stephen Dove is partnering with colleagues at Trinity University to find ways to make short-term study away programs like CentreTerm better than ever with help from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) faculty advancement grant funding.

“I was invited to participate in this project by a colleague at Trinity,” Dove explains. “I was particularly excited to share some of what I learned this past CentreTerm in Guatemala [pictured above] and also to see how other professors approach the challenge of teaching during short study abroad courses.”

dove_stephenThe project involved designing a two-day ACS Study Abroad Summit at Trinity University, to be held in late September 2014. Ten to 12 ACS faculty members will attend, with plans to Pecha Kucha-style presentations (a Japanese form of presentation comprised of 20 images, projected for strictly 20 seconds each), as well as participate in small group discussions, personal consultations and informal conversations about how to strengthen and improve travel programs.

As the ACS grant proposal for the project explains, many faculty who participate in short-term study abroad programs “have done so primarily as a labor of love with little formal training,” forced to “cobble together resources, engage in creative problem-solving, and rely on personal relationships with colleagues and organizations around the world to create meaningful opportunities for students.”

In an effort to give faculty who participate in study abroad programs greater ability to teach effectively, the ACS Summit will explore ways that cross-institutional partnerships can be formed across the globe, allowing students from participating ACS schools to select from a wider range of programs and showcasing institutions’ programmatic strengths. For Dove, in particular, this kind of pedagogical work is an important part of his goals as a faculty member at Centre.

“Teaching study abroad has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done at Centre,” he says, “but it’s also been one of the most challenging. Being abroad means that the professor has many wonderful hands-on resources to use, but it also means that many traditional classroom techniques are less applicable or less effective. It will be great to see how other people are approaching these problems, and I hope to be able to share what I learn with other faculty at Centre.”

Dove is also interested to see how Pecha Kucha will be used at the summit.

“I have not been a part of Pecha Kucha before,” he says. “It should be interesting to attach this pedagogical method to the study abroad discussion and see how that might be useful in classes both at Centre and abroad.”

By Mariel Smith

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