Internationalization workshop encourages faculty to step outside comfort zones
Allison Blizzard points to the friendships she made with her foreign language teaching assistants at Spokane Falls Community College for sparking her interest in culture and travel.
Thanks to the inspiration these faculty members provided, Blizzard finished her degree and went on to earn her master’s degree and doctorate in American Literature and Languages at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.
“You don’t know the impact you can have on students’ lives, just from little things,” said Allison Blizzard, director of International Student Services. “I would have never travelled to Germany, and stayed for fourteen years, if I hadn’t gone to community college.”
This background has led to her passion for Internationalization in teaching, as well as to her role as a member of the Internationalization Steering Committee. She keynoted the recent May workshop titled, “Sharing Best Practices in Internationalization Related Teaching.” Her passion centers on adding international components to coursework to increase student interest and engagement, and energize faculty.
Her enthusiasm is shared by other members of the committee, too. Joining her in the keynote address was Heather Mayer, who has been a part-time history faculty since 2008. She has also worked as the Teaching Learning Center coordinator at the Rock Creek Campus since 2013, where her work focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom.
Mayer spoke on how internationalization can be a strategy towards culturally responsive teaching. She works to be conscious of whose experiences she might be centering on and whose she might be leaving out when planning courses. She finds ways to help her students assess some of their own ideas and strengths related to where they come from.
“I learn so much from my students in ways I never anticipated,” Mayer said.
Following the keynote, participants broke into groups for presentations on how internationalization has been infused into a range of course content, from Marine Biology to Architecture to English. Faculty came away from the workshop with new ideas to implement in their own classes.
“The things you do in your classroom can have a world-wide impact,” Blizzard said. “Internationalization shifts the focus from a single person to the entire community. Our contributions strengthen our local, national, and international communities.”
For more information on Internationalization at PCC, contact Usha Ramanujam at (971) 722-7507 or visit the Internationalization website.