Academic Program Review of the
International Studies Minor
The International Studies Minor submitted its Academic Program Review self study report in January 2006. The Academic Program Review (APR) Committee studied that report and in March 2006, members of the APR Committee met with representatives from the International Studies Program.
Although the self-study process did not include an evaluation by a specific accreditation agency or external consultant, the most recent APR report had listed these five specific areas of concern:
1. The director is concerned that the program is not brought to the attention of students as frequently as it might be by faculty advisors during the regular advising process. The concern here is that students who are pursuing academic programs which would be complemented by the International Studies Minor may not be aware of the program.
2. There are faculty across the campus who may be interested in getting involved in the program but they are not aware of its existence.
3. The clerical support for the program has been assumed by the clerical staff of the Foreign Language Department who has enough to do without this added assignment.
4. The $500 support budget for the program has on occasion been insufficient.
5. The director of the program may not be aware of all the recently approved new courses that may be eligible for inclusion in the program.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR’S RESPONSES TO THE APR SELF-STUDY REPORT
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION FROM THE APR COMMITTEE:
The APR Committee was impressed with the thorough, concise self-study provided, and appreciate that it was submitted electronically and in a timely manner. It is clear that the International Studies Minor augments majors at UW-L, and has clearly outlined a goals statement that fits within the mission of the entire UW-L community.
SUMMARY OF THE SELF-STUDY
1. Program Goals
The self-study offers a concise listing of goals, as follows:
1. To offer UW-L students a coherent interdisciplinary minor focused on the field of international studies.
2. To provide students with a variety of options within that minor, including numerous courses and both the possibility of international concentration as well as specific area study concentrations.
3. To supplement a student’s major and general education experiences by building on a student’s required international coursework and the many majors which offer coursework that support further investigation in the field of international studies.
4. To offer a minor which allows students to integrate coursework both from their own international study at UW-L and from their study abroad experiences.
5. To encourage academic departments at UW-L to contribute their expertise to an academic program in International Studies.
6. To foster the development of intercultural competency by promoting the following student learning outcomes:
i. Explain how values and ideas of cultures have evolved and shaped the modern world
ii. Recognize and respect different ways of thinking and communicating
iii. Explain the rationales for cultural behaviors different from one’s own
iv. Communicate effectively with members of another culture
The International Studies Minor is an autonomous program. There is no International Studies Major available at UW-L, and the International Studies Minor Program is not housed in any single department. The International Studies Minor Program offers three different tracks: i) General International Studies Minor, ii) International Studies Minor with European Emphasis, iii) International Studies Minor with Latin American Emphasis.
2. Overview of Program Success and Strengths
The Program has provided strong justification for its course selection and curriculum, demonstrating that it provides an autonomous body of knowledge that is particularly useful for students applying for post-graduate professional study in law, international relations, government, the humanities and the social sciences. The minor offers opportunities useful for students interested in international work, including the Peace Corps, international business, and translation, and provides both knowledge and competence judged desirable by employers.
To demonstrate that it is meeting its goals, the program details the following assessment measures:
1. The Students who graduate with the minor are asked to complete an exit questionnaire. The suggestions that students make help us to evaluate the relative success of the program.
2. Academic departments are regularly asked to indicate courses that satisfy the requirements for being an INS course. The number of courses that individual departments have contributed to the minor has remained stable, perhaps slightly increasing since the last program review.
3. The nature and number of requirements in the minor can be compared with requirement of similar degrees in similar programs. One can similarly compare the number of different international study options available at UW-L with those available at different institutions in the UW system.
4. The capstone project that each minor is required to produce provides evidence that the minor well matches a student’s individual major. The capstone project, in combination with discussion with senior students, also provides evidence of increased intercultural competency.
5. The number of students who have participated in a study abroad experience as part of the minor has been consistently increasing.
6. Offerings from 28 academic departments at UW-L are represented in the current offerings in the INS minor.
The self-study identifies the most significant strength of the program as its flexibility and variety, its ability to be tailored to the unique educational goals of the particular student by making use of the great wealth of international expertise of UW-L faculty.
The single area requiring the most significant improvement is the need to add additional courses and faculty expertise in two areas of international study: Asia and Africa. Efforts have been directed toward receiving a grant that would provide for faculty development in the area of Asian study. With regard to increasing faculty expertise in African studies, additional hires and/or faculty development would be necessary.
In light of the self-study report, the APR Committee notes the following areas of concern:
1. Low budget. This is a continuing concern that carries over from the last APR report cycle, which emphasized that the $500 support budget for the program has on occasion been insufficient. It has been frozen at $500 since before the last review.
2. No separate physical facilities exist, dedicated explicitly to the International Studies Minor Program.
3. Weaknesses specifically exist in the areas of African studies and Asian studies.
4. The APR Committee concurs with the director in voicing a previous concern that the program is not brought to the attention of students as frequently as it might be by faculty advisors during the regular advising process. The concern here is that students who are pursuing academic programs which would be complemented by the International Studies Minor may not be aware of the program.
5. There are faculty across the campus who may be interested in getting involved in the program but they are not aware of its existence.
6. The clerical support for the program has been assumed by the clerical staff of the Philosophy Department, which is not an ideal situation.
7. The director of the program may not be aware of all the recently approved new courses that may be eligible for inclusion in the program.
In light of these concerns and the self-study report, the APR Committee makes the following recommendations:
1. Emphasize new “advertising” methods for increasing awareness about International Studies among faculty, advisors, and students.
2. Seek an increased budget, and an increased library budget. If the International Studies Minor Program is to continue at UW-L, then additional resources must be allocated by UW-L.
3. Seek a small suite of offices to house the international studies minor. Having a separate space would help students, faculty and staff identify the program.
4. Pursue a grant that would provide for faculty development in the area of Asian study and African study, as well as grants that would continue to support the program in general.
5. Interact with administrators and relevant departments to make strategic hires that would help the Program to offer more courses in the areas of Asian study and African study. As UW-L continues its efforts to enhance its international mission, it should not rest content with the excellence that it has achieved in European and Latin American Studies, but should expand this excellence into other important regional areas as well.
6. Consider implementation of more formalized assessment techniques.
7. Develop a plan for formally rewarding faculty who teach the INS 495 Capstone Individual Study courses for the program.
UNIT DATA SHEETS