ZSEIFS Alumni: In Their Own Words - Ecuador
OIP recently followed up with ZSEIFS Ecuador alumni Aaron Hughey, Ed.D. (Student Affairs) and Donielle Lovell, Ph.D. (Sociology). Here is what they had to say about the ongoing impact of their ZSEIFS experience.
It's been more than a year since you participated in the ZSEIFS to Ecuador. In what
ways is that experience still impacting you as a scholar?
DL: "The experience reminds me to include international components to all of my classes. I think in the past I was focused on just the US experience, but now I try to include facts and figures of where the US stands globally on social issues just to give a comparison. Our students often come to us with a sense of exceptionalism and they have no real sense of where our nation stands in terms of access to healthcare, paternity leave, gender equality, education etc. I think this program helps me to keep in the forefront that I’m not just asking students to thinking critically about US sociological issues, but also more globally and where we fit as a nation in both addressing and contributing to global problems."
One of the primary goals of the ZSEIFS is to internationalize academic courses--not just for the relevant IYO celebration, but also in the long-term. What strategies did you use to infuse new international subject matter into existing courses?
DL: "I knew focusing an entire semester on the race, class and gender of Ecuador would not be sustainable. In order to make my engagement with Ecuador long term in the classroom I created modules based on different themes that can be reused and updated in quick manner. For example, I created the module “The Hidden Cost of Production: A Marxian Analysis of Flower Production in Ecuador” which was applicable in different contexts in my courses [Sociological Theory (SOCL 304); Collective Behavior (SOCL 312); Race, Class, & Gender (SOCL 362); and Diversity in American Society (SOCL 375)]. Now that I have experience creating these modules I can also create some new ones for South Africa."
AH: "I have infused reading related to the Ecuadorian culture into the course requirements [for International Students & Services in Higher Education (CNS 581)] in order to give students a wider perspective when dealing with international students. Being able to think critically is increasingly important to education and to our society as a whole. The ability to compare/contrast the higher education opportunities in Ecuador and the United States, for example, requires an understanding of both societies. Nothing happens in a vacuum; only by understating the context can one accurately interpret the policies and practices of a particular region."
The ZSEIFS is also intended to seed long-term engagement beyond the classroom--in the form of research project, new education abroad programs, or other creative or collaborative endeavors involving Ecuador or Ecuadorian scholars. Are you pursuing any project/activities that stemmed from your participation in the ZSEIFS to Ecuador?
AH: "I am working on a journal manuscript comparing attitudes regarding the importance of higher education among different levels of the Ecuadorian society. The research I am conducting is much more than an academic exercise (as it would have been before) due to my more intimate knowledge of the culture I am investigating.”
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