CIEE MSU CIP Pres Nov 2005

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Challenges Abound: Facilitating Meaningful Study Abroad Experiences for Premedical/dental Undergraduates: 

Challenges Abound: Facilitating Meaningful Study Abroad Experiences for Premedical/dental Undergraduates Michigan State University East Lansing, MI


Presenters Julie Friend, Office of Study Abroad Curriculum Integration Project Director Terri Cregg, College of Natural Science Preprofessional Academic Advisor Jerry Urquhart, Assistant Professor Lyman Briggs School of Science

Who is in the audience?: 

Who is in the audience? Study Abroad Program Administrators Resident Directors Program Providers Faculty Advisors Graduate Students Other

Curriculum Integration: 

Curriculum Integration The Project to Promote Preprofessional Study Abroad (P3SA) is part of a larger program to expand study abroad. opportunities for underrepresented majors. At present 3 of MSU’s 12 colleges are active partners in the CIP. The College of Natural Science is the largest partner with 5 CNS majors and the entire School of Lyman Briggs.

Science Students & Study Abroad: 

Science Students & Study Abroad At MSU, Science students were studying abroad at lower rates than students in other colleges with similar curricular constraints (such as Business). Most Science students that did study abroad participated in short-term summer, faculty led programs.

College of Natural Science participation hovered around 10% : 

College of Natural Science participation hovered around 10% * first year CIP is active

Lyman Briggs School of Science: 

Lyman Briggs School of Science * first year CIP is active

Pre-professional Enrollment: 

Pre-professional Enrollment * first year CIP is active ** deadline March 1, 2006 ^ Includes 4 semester/co-sponsored enrollments

Project to Promote Pre-professional Study Abroad (P3SA) Goals: 

Project to Promote Pre-professional Study Abroad (P3SA) Goals Increase overall participation in study abroad. Increase participation in co-sponsored, semester length programs. Increase course options in the sciences, thus allowing for a more transparent curricular fit. Increase foreign language competence. Increase faculty/advisor support for (and knowledge of) science study abroad.

To understand why more of these students weren’t going abroad…: 

To understand why more of these students weren’t going abroad… we sought multiple perspectives, which led to new understandings about this population. Julie: Administrative inquiries led study abroad staff to an understanding of real barriers Terri: Advisors want to help interested students, but don’t have enough time or useful resources Jerry: Professors do influence student decisions Students: no time/money, risk-averse, highly stressed Medical Schools: see next slide

What Medical Schools Say : 

What Medical Schools Say Some research has indicated that medical schools view a study abroad experience favorably. See "International Study in Premedical Education: Report of a Survey of Medical School Admission Deans," by Amy Anderson, Jennifer Nemecek, and Rudolph Navari in Academic Medicine, 2001 (out of Notre Dame). However, they also appear "neutral" about applicants taking science courses abroad.  So, until the message that study abroad in general, and the study of science abroad in particular, is expressed widely and even more favorably by the majority of US medical and dental schools/recruiters, we will not advise pre-med students take basic science courses abroad. 

The Data in Detail: 

The Data in Detail 111 MD & 16 DO Admissions Deans were surveyed. 65% of respondents stated a study abroad experience was considered "beneficial" to a medical school applicant. 33% viewed the experience "neutral."  Nearly 15% said taking science courses abroad was considered "beneficial“ 73% viewed taking science courses abroad as "neutral."  So, we all have a some work to do, but I believe the tides will turn more in our favor over time. 

A Science Professor’s Viewpoint: 

A Science Professor’s Viewpoint In general faculty think study abroad is great, but unless they lead programs, they don’t know what recommendations to give about other options. Some have antiquated notions about how study abroad works. Don’t think it “fits” into the curriculum Assume AY only or that Ss need fluency in foreign language Some need convincing that science study abroad is as good as an experience abroad at home

Breaking Down Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students: 

Breaking Down Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students Investigate all claims AND opportunities Accept what you cannot change Invite cooperative change where you can Create friends/partners/colleagues Offer kudos Exercise patience Arrange site visits Stay in touch Continue forward momentum

Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students: 

Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students The curricula is less flexible; the suggested schedule is often lock-step and sequential. Students worried about their GPA are wary of taking academic risks. Premedical/dental students are often advised not to take their basic sciences abroad.

Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students: 

Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students These students desire internships or service learning projects that include clinical experience or exposure, which is prohibited by law in some countries (until certain certification requirements are met). They feel pressure to be on campus their junior year to study for and take the Medical Schools Admissions Test (MCAT), and their senior year, to participate in the application and interview process.

Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students: 

Perceived (and Real) Barriers to Study Abroad for Premedical/Dental Students 6) Finally, premedical/dental students anticipate having an expensive graduate education, and therefore seek to keep their undergraduate costs low. 7) Medical schools differ in their perceptions of the value of study abroad.


Nonetheless, faculty and administrators feel that meaningful study abroad experiences for science students need to be more readily accessible.

A 10-step program…: 

A 10-step program… to debunking the myths and removing the barriers that prevent pre-professional students from studying abroad.

Step One: Study and Learn: 

Step One: Study and Learn Learn about the Curriculum (and the Ss) Understand the pre-reqs, the schedule, etc. Ask what barriers students fact to completing certain requirements. e.g. Math/Chemistry language requirements. Inquire what students in these majors aspire to (besides medical school). Find out about on-campus courses that fill up.

Step Two: Listen and Learn: 

Step Two: Listen and Learn Approach various departments to consider reviewing and revising the “four-year plan” in order to accommodate a study abroad experience in the sophomore or fall semester of the junior year (How this is done is absolutely KEY). Inquire about flexibility/capacity. Is this the only plan, the recommended plan, the best plan?

Step Three: Spend Some Money: 

Step Three: Spend Some Money Send faculty/chairs/deans/advisors abroad Terri- successes Preprof: Monterrey Tec (ITESM) & Guadalajara Julie – successes Math: 4 institutions in Australia Jerry – successes Zoology/LBS Chair: Panama Biology: University of Tasmania Science & Technology Studies: University of Kwazulu Natal

Step Four: Re-vamp Freshman Advising/Scheduling: 

Step Four: Re-vamp Freshman Advising/Scheduling Encourage students to plan to fulfill upper-level science credits abroad in subjects not readily available here, as well as suggesting the save social science credits for complementary courses available abroad. Create GENERAL written guidelines. See the two-page flyer we distributed.

Step Five: Seek Administrative Remedies: 

Step Five: Seek Administrative Remedies Seek course equivalencies/approvals for upper level science electives (especially courses not taught on campus). Oceanography Infectious Diseases (in humans, plants or animals) Tropical Medicine/Illnesses Seek course equivalencies/approvals for general education requirements in subjects related to medicine, including specialized language courses like: Medical Spanish (Spanish Credit) Traditional and Contemporary Healthcare Systems in Mexico (Philosophy Credit) Human Formation and Social Commitment (Sociology Credit) Sociocultural Values and development in Mexico (ISS Credit) Intercultural Communication (IAH or Spanish Credit) Medical Anthropology (Anthropology) Health Care Delivery Systems (Philosophy) See next slide for sample course description.


Rh00804. HUMAN FORMATION AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT Credits: 3 Course length: Summer Spanish requirement: Advanced Language of instruction: Spanish "The community of the Technological of Monterrey, makes explicit in its Mission those values, abilities and attitudes that must possess its graduated students. This important effort demands the incorporation of ideas and methodologies educational innovators that contribute new elements that add up to the effort that has been carried out guided to the accomplishment of our mission. This course promotes as the last impact in the profile of the graduated, looking inward and to sensitized toward the values in himself as well as his fellow-creature, achieving with it an attitude of more commitment and social opening, developing this way abilities, values and attitudes focused toward its auto-transformation, this way he will be able to influence positively in the integral development of the human being and of their community."

Step 6: Determine When/How to Take the MCAT Abroad: 

Step 6: Determine When/How to Take the MCAT Abroad It’s easy! In August 2006 the MCAT will be offered at international test sites, located across Australia, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Lebanon, Qatar, Singapore, and South Africa. Testing sites in Beirut, Doha, and Newcastle will administer the MCAT in a paper format. All other testing sites will administer the test in Computer Based Testing (CBT) format. See: (This link is provided on your Preprof handout)

Step Seven: Enact Strategic Program Development: 

Step Seven: Enact Strategic Program Development Better inform faculty, students, and advisors of existing programs that already meet requirements. Lyman Briggs School of Science Pursue program development in countries where the cost of living in generally low. (Remember, these students are already looking at a very pricy graduate education). Mexico, Costa Rica South Africa, Senegal Thailand, India Include home stays where possible.

Lyman Briggs School of Science: 

Lyman Briggs School of Science Residential liberal arts SICENCE program at MSU with 34 different BS/BA majors First two years mostly in LBS, other two years combined LBS and MSU >50% pre-med students, >60% pre-prof Key curriculum items: History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science (HPS); Major Departements

Goals of Study Abroad in LBSS: 

Goals of Study Abroad in LBSS Faculty Perspective: Pre-professional students very focused, inflexible, not interested in liberal education Do not question status quo, completely ethnocentric, not interested in global medical problems HPS classes broaden perspective Need global perspective

Study Abroad in LBSS: 

Study Abroad in LBSS Pre-2002: Humanities-type programs or semester/AY abroad New offerings: Panama – 4 of 6 credits fulfill HPS requirement Nicaragua – Spring Break 1 Week: Intoductory with no conflict with academic year UK – 4 credits for HPS requirement

PM/PD/PV Participation: 

PM/PD/PV Participation About 33% of students in Panama program (6/18) are pre-prof Similar for Nicaragua Expected to be HIGHER for UK (new 2006)

Why successful?: 

Why successful? Fulfill requirement with limited space ON CAMPUS Curriculum Integration Project Close faculty ties to students Student word of mouth Buy-in by LBSS Director (site-visit), other faculty (discussions with students, etc)

No Shortcuts: 

No Shortcuts Panama Program: Three Weeks, 12-14 hours a day Nicaragua: One week, 14 hours a day of experiential and lecture based learning UK: Same requirements as an on-campus course Upside of Pre-Prof You can expect hard work


Applicability Small colleges Advisor flexibility Multiple Models for Study Abroad AY; semester; six, three or one-week Evaluate Goal Why do we want students to study abroad?

Step Eight: Reel ‘Em in With Something Unique (and Resume Enhancing): 

Step Eight: Reel ‘Em in With Something Unique (and Resume Enhancing) Arrange for part-time clinical internships in conjunction with: a required “community volunteer” program already at a Mexican institution, rural clinical placements in conjunction with study at a South African institution, or full-time, twelve-week, summer service learning clinical experience coupled with intensive language courses.

Step Nine: Provide Explicit Instructions/Guidelines: 

Step Nine: Provide Explicit Instructions/Guidelines Design advising materials for premedical/dental students that illustrate how study abroad fits into the curriculum, including detailed guidelines on what to take where, when to go, when to stay, etc. See display models for Preprofessional, Math, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Zoology (also available on CI Website)

Step Ten: Share : 

Step Ten: Share Share outcome and process with campus colleagues Present at conferences Write articles Contribute to Listserv discussions

To better identify with the needs of Science students, we need to:: 

To better identify with the needs of Science students, we need to: spend time understanding the curriculum accept what we cannot change make alliances and friends (not enemies) exercise patience with faculty, staff and advisors who have no background in the field be empathetic to the real constraints that face these students be willing to spend some money recognized efforts of all involved

MSU Curriculum Integration: 

MSU Curriculum Integration THANK YOU! Julie, Terri and Jerry

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