collage of photographs of people in Costa Rican rainforestFaculty members accompanied Chris Houser on his annual study-abroad trip to Costa Rica to learn how to develop international experiences for their own students.

Shadow experiences for faculty to foster study-abroad opportunities

This year four faculty members from arts, humanities, and social sciences and the Odette School of Business accompanied Chris Houser, interim vice-president for research and innovation, on his annual study-abroad trip to the rainforests of Costa Rica.

It was an opportunity for these instructors to learn how to build and run an effective international experience for undergraduate students, says Dr. Houser.

“Through these shadow experiences, we are growing a community of practice that will ensure that study abroad and international experiences continue to expand across the University of Windsor,” he says. “It will be important to continue building and supporting this community of practice moving forward.”

History professor Gregg French says he will apply what he learned: “While observing Houser’s study-abroad trip, I acquired a diverse range of effective pedagogical practices which I will undoubtably employ in my own forthcoming study-abroad course.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Kent Walker from the Odette School of Business.

“Shadowing Chris in Costa Rica I was able to witness the unique value to students that a study abroad offers,” he says. “Interacting with the students and local organizations helped me understand where this value was, and could be, created in my own study-abroad course focused on local social entrepreneurship.”

Their forthcoming trips will add to an increasing number of study-abroad experiences across campus, from the glaciers of Iceland to the soundscapes of Paris and the financial district of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Chantal Vallée participated in the shadow experience last year and drew on it in developing her own class for students in human kinetics.

“The opportunity to shadow Dr. Houser was exactly what I needed to be able to prepare an entire new class and develop a curriculum specific for our HK students for a study-abroad experience,” she said.

Vallée was shadowed this year by kinesiology professor Sarah Woodruff, who is planning to offer a study-abroad course related to nutrition, health, and wellness.