A case study of Northeastern University International Study Department
1: Introduction With the rapid development of the globalization in our contemporary world, people are facing challenges in coping with the changing world. Higher education plays an extremely important role in cultivating globally competent students. Educational institutions are responsible not only for teaching essential knowledge, technical expertise, but also cultivating student’s global awareness that allow them “not only to contribute to knowledge, but also to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate its meaning in the context of an increasingly globalized world” (National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, 2004, p.378). Therefore the study abroad program is becoming extremely important. “Study abroad is undergoing a revolution in the United States,” said Ross Lewin, the author of The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad: Higher Education and the Quest for Global Citizenship (p. 15). It is true that the number of US students who participate in the international education has increased significantly over the last decades. The numbers of the international educational institutions and universities have also grown greatly. Now study abroad programs are populated in all kinds of majors and plays an important role in the internationalization of the institution because the program is the most efficient way to equip students with the global competence, such as the global-awareness and adaptability to different cultures; basic international knowledge and the understanding of the currents of global change and the issues; and the capacity for cross cultural communication, and the ability to work in international settings. In this paper, I choose Northeastern University International Study Department as my case study to analyze and assess from different aspects. This assessment starts with basic background information about the Northeastern University International Study Department, and then I’ll analyze the institution from the aspect of organizational structure; study abroad programs; the process of the programs (pre/during/post); and the outcome of the programs. In the end, I’ll conclude the paper with some recommendations for this institution. [Most of the assessment sources come from the several interviews I did with the program coordinator Elizabeth McClanahan, peer advisor Emma Miller and recently returned student Evan Didisheim.]
2: Background The mission and the goal of the International Study Department at Northeastern University is to provide high-quality study abroad programs that will allow NU students to develop the intercultural knowledge, skills, competence and networks needed to become more successful and competitive in the global community. In the past decade, the International Study Department has put lots of efforts to peruse this goal and has scored remarkable achievements, including winning the “2010 NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization”, and the “2011 IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education: Study Abroad” (Northeastern University Official Website, 2015, para.3). Now NEU has over 150 study abroad programs in over 50 countries. The students are more enthusiastic about studying abroad then before with the incensement of the options. Basically International Study Department in Northeastern offers two kinds of study abroad programs: one is the traditional study abroad program. The other one is Dialogue of Civilizations, which is also the most unique characteristic of the study abroad department in Northeastern.
3: Assessment and Analysis
3.1: Organizational Structure The structure of the Northeastern University International Study Department is very clear and organized: vertical management (Exhibit 1). Director is leading the department with the help of three associate directors; three