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SoC further internationalizes its curriculum

SoC students studying abroad in Panama

What can be done with a $10,000 grant? For the School of Communication, it can be specifically used for internationalizing its curriculum, and particularly the communication studies major.

Lance Lippert, professor of communication and program coordinator for the communication studies major, and Joe Zompetti, professor of communication, obtained the Internationalization Grant from Illinois State University’s Office of International Studies and Programs earlier this year. Simply put, the School will use the money from the grant to make ways to increase global awareness in its curriculum.

“Students become more culturally rounded by being open to alternative perspectives on topics, especially from the point of view of someone in another country.”

There are three key ways the grant will be used. One is through hosting guests from other international institutions. Another is providing international training to communication faculty to help them redesign their courses with global content. Additionally, the money can expand opportunities for students through activities, experiences, and an increase of knowledge.

“The potential opportunities the grant provides should encourage students to think more globally,” Lippert explained. “This will, in turn, increase students’ desire to travel abroad, helping to carry out the School’s mission for greater internationalization of its curriculum.”

The School of Communication has been known for its strong international and intercultural opportunities for students, especially to study in other countries. Recently, the school offered students four study-abroad programs open to all communication majors. Students had the option to travel to either Europe or Latin America during the summer.

The European programs focus on public relations and communication studies, alternating between France and the Netherlands. In Latin America the focus is on mass communication and journalism, alternating between Panama and Brazil. The programs for this summer will be held in Brazil and France.

Zompetti emphasized how crucial it is for faculty and students to develop a global context and a stronger awareness of diversity as active, competent citizens in the world.

“Frequently people are ethnocentric,” Zompetti explained. “Students become more culturally rounded by being open to alternative perspectives on topics, especially from the point of view of someone in another country.”

“The biggest point of the grant is to intentionally integrate internationalization in the School’s curriculum,” Lippert said. “For example, the communication studies major already does many international things, but the grant will help us coordinate and incorporate internationalization in an intentional way throughout the major.”

From students studying abroad, to redesigning curriculum, to inviting scholars and experts from other countries, to enrolling more international students, the School of Communication has begun important work on strengthening its already strong programs so that it can offer the kinds of teaching and learning opportunities that matter in our changing world.

Have a story idea or general feedback? Please contact Pete Smudde at psmudde@ilstu.edu.

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