Studying abroad has been made more accessible for Cabrini College students. In June 2012, Cabrini College applied for an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant. This project entitles the college to $165,111 over two years to develop six new or redesigned courses that further internationalize the Engagements with the Common Good series.
“Out of 120 proposals they received, there were 17 colleges that got one and we were lucky enough to get one of them,” Dr. Jeffrey Gingerich, associate provost and project manager, said.
This project has three primary objectives: to strengthen international and global dimensions of the Justice Matters curriculum, to expand and improve offerings in foreign languages, and to enhance the international competence and experience of Cabrini faculty and staff.
“There are three objectives,” Gingerich said. “One is to create more courses and we’re concentrating on ECG courses and senior capstone courses and developing those courses where we can develop an international component to them. So the funding itself only gives money to help develop the courses, so now we’re going to have to step into place right away to try to find a way to make it more financially feasible for students to do that.”
The courses that will be created or improved will primarily be ECG courses and senior capstone courses. All the trips will be short-term and take place over spring break, like Guatemala, or summer, like Swaziland. With this grant, the cost per student will be about half of what it would normally be to travel to these places. For example, for a student traveling to Swaziland, they would only have to pay about $1000 instead of what it would normally be – which is around $3000.
“The second objective then is to expand and improve foreign language offerings so we’ve created a couple of things. We’re going to expand our courses in business, social sciences, translation and education, and those are going to help us,” Gingerich said. “So we’re doing that and creating a course called Spanish for International Development.”
“There’s another foreign language dimension to the grant also; they provided money for us to develop courses for the professions,” Dr. Nick Uliano, associate professor of romance languages and study abroad coordinator, said. “We’re going to have Spanish for teachers, which I’ll be teaching next semester, Spanish for medical personnel, and Spanish for people involved in the social sciences.”
This objective is focused on raising and developing Spanish for the Professions, so it will allow students who are studying business, social services, education or translation to not only learn the language, but to learn how they will be using it specifically for their major.
The third objective is mainly for Cabrini faculty and staff.
“The reality is we have a lot of work to do with our faculty and staff as well, to try and get our competency up in terms of language and the international experience,” Gingerich said. “So there’s money there to help faculty and staff to resources to help us get up to speed.”
To get them up to speed, there’s going to be a focus on faculty development on two world regions – southern Africa in year one and Central America in year two. There will also be a Conversational Spanish workshop for faculty.
“These faculty are going to be developing courses and we’ll actually have money for several faculty members to travel abroad to these places to establish relationships there with people so that eventually they could either bring students there or we could work via Skype – not all professors are going to want to travel,” Uliano said. “We could help globalize the curriculum through Skype and things like that.”
There are four faculty members involved in this project: Gingerich, the project manager; Dr. Jerry Zurek, chair of communication and professor of English and communication, will coordinate activities related to the Justice Matters curriculum enhancement; Uliano is responsible for coordinating activities supporting the Immersion Experience components, overseeing their linguistic components and designing Spanish for International Development and French for International Development; and Dr. Cynthia Halpern, chair and professor of romance languages, will coordinate activities that develop a stronger connection between foreign language instruction and students’ career goals as well as develop and pilot test the new courses in the Spanish for Professions certificate program.
Overall, this grant will allow more students to study abroad and experience different cultures, but mainly, “it’ll be a wider range of opportunities for students to study social justice through an international lens,” Uliano said. This grant is primarily focused on developing countries in order to strengthen international development. These classes and programs being directly added into the Justice Matters program – the core curriculum – has set Cabrini apart.
“I think that it is a different experience, but there are a lot of similarities,” Gingerich said when describing the difference between studying in these developing countries as opposed to studying in more modernized countries like London or Rome, “You know anytime that student get into a different culture – or any of us, not just students – there’s so much growth and education that goes on in a different culture. But then when you get into a different culture that also is very underprivileged and really struggling in a different way, it’s a different kind of education, a different kind of awareness.”
Details behind the grant
• Cabrini recieved $165,111 over two years to develop new ECG courses.
• Cabrini is one of 17 schools to get the grant out of 120 applicants.
• The College has three objectives to do with the grant- implement ECG and senior capstone projects that feature short-term study abroad, develop a Spanish class for students to use for their business, social science or education major and develop faculty to work with African and Central American nations.
• Four faculty memebers are involved- Dr. Jeffrey Gingerich, Dr. Jerry Zurek, Dr. Nick Uliano and Dr. Cynthia Halpern.