Academic Program Review Report

International Studies Minor

January 2006

 

 

I.                   PURPOSES

a)      Provide a statement of the program minor’s overall goals and objectives.

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 

b)            Does the minor offer a valid, smaller version of a major or does it have its own emphasis/autonomy?

The International Studies Minor is an autonomous program.  There is, at present, no International Studies Major available for students at UW-L.  The International Studies Minor Program is not housed in any department.  The International Studies Minor Program does have three different tracks within the minor: the General International Studies Minor, the International Studies Minor with European Emphasis and the International Studies Minor with Latin American Emphasis.  The International Studies Minor is open to all undergraduate students in the university.

 

II.        CURRICULUM

a)      How does the minor complement/augment the student’s major?

The minor complements the student’s major by providing an international backdrop against which to put into practice what the student has learned in the major.  The minor helps students understand how better to apply their majors both from a global perspective and to a specific regional context. 

b)      Does it offer an autonomous body of knowledge sought by graduate programs or the workforce?

The minor offers an autonomous body of knowledge that is particularly useful for students applying for post-graduate professional study in law, international relations, and government.  The minor offers an autonomous body of knowledge that is useful for students interested in international work experiences, including the Peace Corps, international business, and translation.  The minor provides both knowledge and competence judged desirable by employers.  The minor offers an autonomous body of knowledge that is useful for students interested in graduate work, especially in the humanities and social sciences.

c)  Give a justification for the number and type of courses in the minor.

1.      The International Studies minor has as a prerequisite that students be proficient in a foreign language through the 202 level.  This requirement guarantees that students will have significant exposure to a language other than English, and, thus to a foreign culture.  This language requirement allows students to expand the level of work that they are able to do in International Studies by making it possible for them to read, converse, do research and interact with others in a language other than English. 

2.      The International Studies minor requires that students begin their study with a course in Contemporary Global Issues [one of ANT/GEO/POL/SOC 202].  This requirement provides the common background introduction to basic world problems that all students in the minor need to have before embarking on more specific study. 

3.      Students are then required to take two courses in the Global Issues category from a list of about 70 courses from 23 departments and programs.  These are courses which have a global focus as opposed to a specific regional focus.  Furthermore, students are required to take two National and Regional Topics courses, courses which have a non-US national or regional focus from a list of approximately 120 courses from 17 departments and programs.  The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that students have an expanded global perspective as well as an in-depth understanding of specific regions of the world.  Before completing their capstone experience, students are required to take two additional courses to complete the minor.  If they wish to concentrate on a global perspective, they may take two additional global studies courses.  If they prefer to study specific regions they may take two additional regional courses.  Or, they may take one course from either the Global Issues category or the National and Regional Topics category. 

4.      When these six courses are completed, students are then required to do a capstone project on a specific topic which is suited to their interest, coursework, major, career goals, and international experience.  Students are assigned by the program director to a UW-L faculty member who has the requisite expertise in the student’s area of interest to oversee the student’s final project in which the student brings all of her international and other related training to bear on a specific topic. 

5.      The total number of credits in the INS minor is 24.  The number of 3-credit courses in addition to the prerequisite and capstone courses is 6.  This is an appropriate minimal number of required courses to ensure that students achieve reasonable expertise in a particular region of study and that they acquire sufficient global perspective.

d)      Does the minor embody contemporary curricular issues as well as the major?  

      There is currently no International Studies Major at UW-L.  The International Studies minor does require coursework in contemporary curricular issues in International Studies.  The Contemporary Global Issues course [one of ANT/GEO/POL/SOC 202] is a course in contemporary issues.   Foreign language training through the 202 level typically exposes students to contemporary curricular issues.  Further, all content courses in the minor involve contemporary curricular issues.

e)       Is there sufficient expertise in the program, enough faculty, and adequate infrastructure to make the minor rigorous?   

The minor is rigorous.  But, the program continues to encourage hiring faculty with additional areas of international expertise.  The program also urges the re-training and continued development of international expertise in existing faculty.  The point of both of these endeavors is to enhance existing international expertise and to add additional areas of emphasis to the minor.

f)        Does the program work actively with other departments to make the minor relevant?

All minor courses are taught by faculty housed in other departments and almost all course carry discipline-specific prefixes.  Faculty involved with the International Studies Minor program work with other programs and departments to encourage them to add courses that would strengthen the International Studies Minor.  For example, International Studies Minor personnel have continued to advocate the addition of courses in African and Asian studies that would improve our offerings in these two areas.  Faculty members from many different departments make suggestions to the program on various ways to improve the program. 

g)   Does the program work actively with other departments to deliver the minor in a manner that is relevant to other programs?

Faculty involved with the International Studies Minor program engage in regular discussion with members of a variety of departments about the nature and importance of the International Studies Minor.  The willingness of faculty from a wide variety of departments to supervise INS 495 projects is crucial to the continued success of the program.  And, input from faculty who supervise INS 495 projects about the minor is very important. 

 

III.       DEGREE OF PROGRAM SUCCESS

a)      Describe the extent to which the minor is meeting its goals and objectives.

1.      The minor does offer UW-L students a meaningful interdisciplinary minor focused on the field of international studies.  The basic requirements and the wide variety of options make it possible for students to have the necessary framework and great choice to construct a minor that well suits their own educational goals.

2.      The minor offers many possible options, including numerous courses as well as the possibility of either a general international concentration or a concentration on study of a specific area of the world.

3.      Options within the minor are currently limited by the number of foreign languages available to students at UW-L.  Some students have expressed the desire that additional languages (such as Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Hindi, Swahili, etc.) would be available for them to take.  In addition, there are not at present enough courses to offer an Asian Studies emphasis or an African Studies emphasis.  Both of these additional emphases would be important additions to the program.

4.      The minor does 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.

5.      The program does offer a minor which students may complete using both coursework from their own international study at UW-L and from their study abroad experience.

6.      The program does encourage academic departments at UW-L to contribute their expertise to an academic program in International Studies by regularly asking departments to identify coursework that would apply to the minor.  The basic requirement for an International Studies course is that 60% of its content be concerned with topics outside of the United States.

7.      The coursework in the minor does encourage intercultural competency.  In addition students in the minor are encouraged to study abroad and are encouraged to use coursework from their experience abroad towards their minor.

b)         Explain what measurements are used to determine how well the goals and objectives are being met.

Different goals are measured in different ways.  
[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. 

c)      How does the program attract students to its minor?

In addition to posters and flyers the department also attracts minors by sending mailings about the minor to all students who are enrolled in 201 and above level foreign language classes at UW-L. 

d)      Identify and describe the single most significant strength of the minor.

The most significant strength of minor is 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.

e)      Identify and describe the single area requiring the most significant improvement.  Discuss your plans for accomplishing this improvement

While one can always do more in the area of assessment, the single area requiring the most significant improvement concerns the need to add additional courses and faculty expertise in two key 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.  The International Studies program will continue to encourage administrators and relevant departments to make strategic hires that would help us to be able to offer more courses in these two areas.

IV. PREVIOUS ACADEMIC PROGRAM REVIEW

a)      Actions taken

The last program review listed five concerns and made three recommendations.   The concerns noted were as follows:                                                                                                              

[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. 

a)      Actions taken [continued]

The recommendations made by the APR committee were as follows:

[1] When the mailing notifying the new students of the program, the faculty should be reminded of the program.  Perhaps a notice could be placed in the Campus Connection.

[2] The Dean of the College of Liberal Studies should consider the clerical workload associated with the International Studies Minor when clerical positions for the academic departments are reviewed and reallocated.                                                      

[3] The director of the program should periodically, at least once annually, meet with the registrar (who serves as the secretary to the faculty Senate Curriculum committees) to identify new courses with the potential for being added to the course list for the program.

 

With regard to these recommendations the following has occurred.

     [1] There has been greater publicity for the International Studies minor.  In addition to considering the suggestions of the APR committee, other attempts have been made to increase awareness of the program.  Part of the budget has been used, when possible, to provide support in sponsoring visible campus events, such as important topical speakers.  An active bulletin board has been established and maintained on the second floor of Graff Main Hall.  And, the new student advising center has been involved in advising students about the International Studies Minor.  Still, getting information about the minor out to faculty continues to depend mainly upon the activities of department chairs.  Department chairs are solicited every other fall to identify courses that should be included in the INS minor program.                                                                                                                                    

[2] The clerical workload of the International Studies minor is now being assumed by the half-time Program ADA of the Philosophy department.  As the half-time Program ADA for the Philosophy department also oversees the Philosophy major and minor as well as the Environmental Studies minor, this is still not an ideal situation.                                                                                                                            

[3] The director of the International Studies program does meet regularly with the registrar and also regularly receives and reviews minutes from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee about new courses which have been approved.  A further improvement that has been suggested would involve having a check-off box on LX forms for new courses indicating whether a proposed new course would satisfy the international studies minor.

 

b)  Continuing concerns: There are a number of important concerns that remain regarding the International Studies minor. 

      [1] The budget for the program has been frozen at $500 since before the last review.  Funding for the INS minor should be significantly increased significantly.                                                              

[2] There should be dedicated library funding for acquisitions related specifically to teaching and learning in international studies for which the International Studies Minor would be responsible.                                                                                                                                           

[3] It is important that the International Studies Minor eventually receive its own separate space on campus.  An ideal temporary location would be a small suite of a couple of offices, such as 223 GMH.  An ideal longer-term location would be the new classroom building.  Having a separate space would help students, faculty and staff identify the program.                                       

[4] The International Studies minor needs to have the means to reward faculty who teach the INS 495 Capstone Individual Study courses for the program.  Without the good will of these caring individuals, international studies minors would not be able to complete their minors.  These individuals should be rewarded, at least nominally, for the work they do.  In addition, if they were to receive a small payment for supervising an international studies minor project, it would also be easier to get them to help with the task of gathering important assessment data about the students that they supervise.  Assuming a nominal honorarium of $100 per capstone project, this would require adding between $1000 and $1500 annually to the operating budget of the International Studies minor.  And, since the minor is open to all students, this funding should not come from a single college.  It is a cost that should be shouldered by the university as a whole.                                                                            

[5] Additional faculty hires and additional development of faculty competence in the areas of African and Asian studies should be a priority.  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. 

V.      PERSONNEL 

The professional development opportunities and expectations for faculty members teaching in the minor are the same as those that exist in the 28 departments in which these faculty members teach.

VI.     SUPPORT FOR ACHIEVING ACADEMIC GOALS

a)      Physical facilities

There are no separate physical facilities for the INS minor.   In order to acquire more visibility and prominence on campus, a small suite of offices, such as 223 GMH should be turned over to the International Studies program.  They could certainly be shared as appropriate with the Office of International Education.  It is hoped that the INS minor will receive its own prominent space in additional future buildings.

b)      Supplies and equipment

The INS budget is currently $500.  This amount is now not sufficient to support anything besides basic printing costs.  No outside speakers or other additional support can be provided to the university to support the program.  No financial support can be provided to faculty who supervise INS 495 capstone theses.

c)      Personnel

The INS program currently has a director who receives a $3000/year stipend.  There is no separate INS department.  There are no separate INS faculty members. Faculty loyalties are to departments, not free-standing programs.  Faculty members are rewarded by their departments, not by free-standing programs.  The INS program depends on the good will of faculty to supervise INS 495 capstone theses for no extra pay.  As a result, the program director is reluctant to ask these faculty members to engage further in additional assessment activities.

d)      External funding

The INS program is currently involved in a pending grant application to provide funding to increase the number of Asian Studies courses at UW-L.   If that grant fails to be funded, the program will continue to seek to find other ways to increase expertise in needed areas.

e)      Library resources 

While the INS program’s library needs are largely covered by the library needs of the other academic departments, it would be useful for the program to have at least a small discretionary budget, say $400/year, to make purchases of new materials specifically related to international studies learning.  It would be helpful if the APR committee could make this recommendation.

VII.           Appendices

a)      Unit Data sheets (provided by UWL Institutional Research Office)

These have been requested and will be forwarded to the APR chair.

b)      Most recent previous Academic Program Review Committee report on the minor [1995]

This is not available electronically.  A copy will be forwarded to the APR chair.

c)      Department’s Annual Report from each of the previous three years

Note: The International Studies program is not part of an academic department.  The program does not produce a separate annual report.

d)      Assessment instruments, surveys, plans, etc. (particularly those cited in section III of this self study report

These are attached to this report.

e)      Any other important departmental documents cited in earlier sections of this self study report.