- Nancy Ruther, EdD
SNOWBALLS IN ALABAMA?
Faculty-led internationalization momentum with CLICK
How could CLICK create a snowball effect in warm, sunny Alabama’s internationalization efforts? Let’s look at the example set with a recent partnership fostered by Gazelle International. After energizing meetings at the CCID2022 conference in New Orleans, Nancy Ruther and the delegation from Université de Lorraine headed to Florence, Alabama to meet with our partners at University of North Alabama.
While we often focus on student benefits of virtual exchange, our team works directly with the faculty who deliver those benefits to their students through their CLICK projects. Indeed students are the lifeblood of campus and faculty are the heart that keeps them progressing. Their value should not be overlooked when it comes to campus internationalization. Faculty reach more and more students as they repeat their CLICK projects. Plus the endorsement of faculty is key in reaching other faculty at their own and other institutions. As their own projects see success with their students, other faculty will be willing to try incorporating Virtual Exchange into their classes as well!
In the current cohort of CLICK projects running, we have four faculty from Alabama - two from UNA, two from community colleges. Seeing our teaching partners CLICKing in person after building and running their projects virtually was amazing! Not only did they cement their own and students’ relationships but really expanded them with new connections. The week ended not only with a new teaching pair currently designing their CLICK project for the fall, but also a possible series of virtual language learning workshops!
We ended on a high note, meeting with members of the board of Study Alabama who represent multiple institutions ready to embrace CLICK in support of their mission to grow global education across the state. Starting with just a handful of faculty CLICKing, we were indeed able to create a snowball effect this spring in Alabama with our Lorraine partners! While we're looking forward to some warmer weather, we're glad to see just a handful of faculty CLICKing has snowballed into new growth for us and our partners!