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Academic Directors Overseas: Challenges of Managing the ‘Academics’ in Latin American and European Programs Jose B. Alvarez Ph.D. Vice President, Program Management and Development CEA Study Abroad Based in Rome, Italy
Study abroad experiences that shape my belief on administration and execution of all facets Lausanne Switzerland: 1973 US, undergraduate 1982: “Welcome to Boston” Spain summer TA teaching responsibilities. 8-week program 1996, hired as Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia. Tenured UGA 2001 Valencia and Cadiz *Cannot be done! Expanded to Seville, Spring semester Valencia then year round. *Brand. Summer in Cuba, Venezuela and Peru SIT Study Abroad: oversaw 30 programs in Latin America and Europe over 5 years. Based in US (2 years) then 3 Years in Rome CEA: Based in Rome. Overseeing locations in Europe and LA since May 2013
My Supervisory roles: Long distance: common denominator Across multiple time zones Multiple languages, many not proficient Various expectations: Faculty & Admin Multifacet roles –Academic –Administrative, incl budget & personnel –Development –Health & Safety/Crisis Intervention/Confidant
Academic Director: *Definition, *Qualifications, *Experience, *Roles No standard title in our field (unlike academic titles): *Resident Director, *Field Director, *Center Director, *Program Director, *Dean, *Faculty Director, *other? I have chosen to use for this presentation: Academic Director to highlight the essence of the job.
Definition: the primary mission of the AD is related to what gives meaning to the title : Academics In essence we could argue that he/she is the Chief Academic Officer in the field Curriculum Development and Supervision Syllabi development Faculty hiring, mentoring, supervision and evaluation Teaching Courses: selection, scheduling, assignments Student Academic issues Liaison with home office (US), sending institutions
Qualifications: Advanced graduate degree (terminal degree preferred) Field of Academic expertise Previous supervisory role In country knowledge/SA experience Knowledge/experience US higher education Bilingual in English and the local language
Experience; How does one qualify for a job that requires all that is expressed above: Academic preparation and experience Administration skills, including budgetary responsibilities and personnel management Student services SA experience And… –Can work long distance with little supervision –Follows directions –Not a research position
Roles: Depending on the size and staffing of the program: Various hats Program administrator Language coordinator University liaison Internship coordinator Student Services Coordinator Legal representative Homestay coordinator, Thus: Wonder WOMAN or Superman!
Challenges of the academic role Center program (autonomous) Partner program –Faculty US vs Foreign Adjunct: buy in (faculty meetings, excursions, etc.) Proficiency in English Expectations: program and students Understanding the audience (who is it) Basic matters: concept of time, syllabi, assignments, feedback, methodology Academic Freedom!
Faculty seminars Origin: cooking classes homestay mothers Audience: first year faculty teaching US students, others needed due to evals Leader: Best: local national (AD/Peer) Threats: faculty resistance, feeling insulted, University partner not allowing How to present it: PD opportunity, time for sharing, intercultural seminar. PAY: include in contract hours
Objectives Train new instructors on U.S. standards on grading practices, scales, inflation Provide an overview of U.S. students expectations on faculty feedback: frequency, type Usage of methodological best practice (experiential learning cycle: theorize, plan, experience, reflect) Strategies on engaging the student in the classroom, seeking an informed, participant atmosphere
Objectives: cont. Identification of (SMART) learning objectives for the lesson/course Training on course design (i.e. discussion of U.S. syllabus standards), lesson design, assessment design, classroom delivery skills Exploitation of additional resources (visual aids, study sheets, etc.) BALANCE (ppt) Communication with student: the importance of responsiveness, ability to answer student queries, and of clarity on course goals, expectations, requirements, etc. Instructor approachability outside of class
Objectives cont. Attitude toward different views in the classroom Employment of teaching strategies to accommodate different learning styles Understanding and incorporating student evaluation feedback into improving teaching
Audience New instructors teaching for the first time Instructors teaching U.S. students for the first time Faculty identified from Student Evaluations Optional continuous learning opportunity for current instructors/Refresher Anyone that is teaching your students! **Program staff
Format Presentation of key information, combined with active discussion of best practices in higher education, exchange of experiences, discussion of cultural differences Should follow the experiential model in that instructors have an active opportunity to get engaged in planning/experiencing/reflecting (e.g. developing SMART lesson learning objectives in a small group) Role play
Learning outcomes By the end of the training, participating faculty should be able to: Understand and employ/adhere to key U.S. standards on course and assessment design, methodological best practice, classroom delivery skills and management Understand the profile/academic background/expectations of U.S. study abroad students and be better prepared to teach, communicate, and provide feedback to them Comprehend the idiosyncrasies of US undergraduates