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ERIC Number: EJ1099133
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1938-9809
Supporting Diversity and Internationalization through Transformative Learning Experiences
Wong, Mary Shepard
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2007 n2 Spr 2007
Diversity and internationalization initiatives are priorities on most college campuses due to the need to prepare students to engage in a global workforce. Such initiatives seek to expose students to diverse perspectives and enable them to interact meaningfully with those very different from themselves. Colleges strive to achieve these outcomes by: (a) recruiting, supporting, and valuing underrepresented students and faculty, (b) infusing the curriculum with multicultural perspectives, and (c) providing international exchange programs including study abroad opportunities. Unfortunately, many diversity initiatives and internationalization programs do not engage students in enough direct inter-group contact necessary for mutual understanding of diverse perspectives of complex issues to take place. This paper contends that meaningful change occurs in students when faculty provide a supportive environment with structures that encourage investigation and reflection in conjunction with opportunities for meaningful, sustained, face-to-face interaction among people who are different from one another, whether socially, economically, ethnically, culturally, or ideologically. This provides the opportunity for transformative learning experiences to take place, in which students are able to form new understandings and take action on these changed perspectives. After discussing the challenges campus diversity and internationalization initiatives face and the potential transformative learning experiences have to overcome those challenges, three immersion programs which have found success in promoting change in students' perspective through prolonged and meaning engagement among and across communities of difference are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A