Sep 30, 2011
Faculty Visit CCCU’s BestSemester Programs
posted under NEWS STORY
Each year, hundreds of students from institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) attend its BestSemester™ study programs around the globe. These students return to their schools energized and excited about the world with expanded knowledge, faith, and understanding. Faculty members can get a taste of what their students encounter and engage in more in-depth conversations about BestSemester’s benefits and experiences by visiting these student programs.
Understanding the value of faculty visits, the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) in Nashville, Tenn., hosted an official faculty tour of its new facilities May 23-27, 2011. This program allowed a dozen faculty members from across the CCCU to become better acquainted with the CMC experience their students encounter and also included a professional development workshop that offered opportunities for participants to build, develop, or expand upon the contemporary music curriculum at their universities. According to Warren Pettit, CMC’s program director, faculty could “build their own tour,” focusing on areas of specific interest to their school or studies. The CMC is planning to hold another faculty tour in May 2012.
After visiting the CMC, Heather Josselyn-Cranson, director of music ministries and associate professor of music at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, stated she is now better equipped to “help students prepare for this, and we can have more helpful conversations when they get back [to campus].”
The Latin American Studies Program (LASP) will also host a faculty tour May 18-28, 2012. Faculty members who attend the LASP tour will spend part of their time in Costa Rica and the rest in Cuba.
“Our hope is that this trip will be a kind of ‘Mini LASP,’ where participants will not so much observe from a distance what LASP semester participants experience, but rather that faculty might have their own meaning-filled Latin American encounter,” said Anthony Chamberlain, director of the Latin American Studies Program.
In March 2011, John Beaney, chair of the modern languages department, and Faith Minnich, assistant director of international programs, from Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., visited the China Studies Program (CSP) during its cultural excursion to Xi’an. Visiting CSP provided Beaney and Minnich an opportunity to get a sense of the program, meet some of the staff, and visit with participating Messiah students.
“Our visit to the China Studies Program was a wonderful opportunity to see firsthand the exceptional work the CSP staff are doing with students during their semester in China,” stated Minnich. “While joining them on their visit to the Terracotta Warriors, we watched students engage in the incredible history of China. While sitting in class with them at Xi’an International Studies University, we observed the unique interaction that occurs when students learn about a culture while living in that culture. While walking the bustling streets of Xi’an with students, we witnessed the maturity and self-awareness that come from being outside their comfort zones, yet in a safe and vibrant learning environment.”
As Minnich reflected, “Our brief visit to the China Studies Program reminded us of the transformative power of study abroad and of the quality opportunities that exist from outstanding partners like BestSemester.”
Faculty members who are able to visit a student program get an unrivaled perspective of what their students experience and leave with a fresh understanding of the importance of encouraging their students to attend and how to interact with them upon their return. Although Jeff Miller, assistant director of the Spencer Centre for Global Engagement at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., had spent time in Uganda previously with Samaritan’s Purse, he returned to visit the Uganda Studies Program (USP) this past February, connecting with the USP staff and learning more about their program.
“It was wonderful to reunite with the people and culture that I came to love,” said Miller. “Professionally, the opportunity to be able to connect personally with Mark Bartels and the staff of the Uganda Studies Program was invaluable. It is of the utmost importance to me to know who is involved in making the decisions regarding our students’ safety abroad.”
“The familiarization with the program, the courses taught, and the specifics on housing and student development are essential for my role as an advisor and allows me to see first-hand how the Uganda Studies Program aligns with the mission and vision of Taylor University,” stated Miller.
If you would like more information about opportunities for campus faculty and staff to visit BestSemester programs this academic year, please go to www.bestsemester.com/studytours.