If you’ve got a great idea for adding an international twist to your coursework but just don’t know how to make it happen, John Francis can help. The associate professor of art is Boise State’s first-ever International Learning Opportunities Faculty Fellow.
Francis has been taking art students on two-week visits to Japan for several years, has organized cross-cultural art exhibitions, and has made connections and forged a formal international cooperative agreement with Japan’s Nagoya Zokei University.
“Students need to understand that while yes, there are cultural differences between people, we are all human beings and are inter-connected in this world,” Francis said. “We share certain fundamental feelings and experiences in life. It is important that students be exposed to and know that.”
“We live in the world so we need to be out in the world and give students a chance to experience that,” added Corrine Henke, associate director of International Learning Opportunities. “We’re more interconnected than ever and it’s important to bring that to students in an affordable way.”
Francis’s job is to help faculty set up short-term study abroad programs spanning days or weeks, or bring in visiting faculty from other countries, based on their individual strengths.
“It can seem like an overwhelming task if you don’t have the connections,” he said. “I can talk about how to make those connections.”
He also can help write letters of introduction, address how to develop a budget and offer tips on keeping the costs down so more students can participate. Ideas may include using volunteer guides, connecting with another university or utilizing homestay options.
Faculty considering creating an international component to their pedagogy should begin by reading the International Learning Opportunities guidelines online.