Though it fell on Friday, April 13th, there was nothing unlucky about this year’s Symposium on International Faculty-Led Programs, hosted and organized by Portland State University! In fact, the third annual Symposium was blessed with a large number of attendees, excellent sessions and a wonderful amount of discussion between participants both native to the Pacific Northwest and as far flung as New Mexico, Tennessee and Massachusetts. As this facet of education abroad continues to grow, it’s critical that best practices unique to these programs are discussed and put forth, not only in program building and recruitment, but in group cohesion and managing their special social and learning dynamics. GEO was proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Symposium, and we are so glad that this forum continues to grow in success each year! If you or your faculty engage in this type of programming, it is well worth putting on your calendar for next April.
Several outstanding faculty were honored at the Symposium, and GEO is extremely proud that one of our own, Dr. Barbara Mossberg, was among those selected to receive the Outstanding International Faculty Award this year! Every summer, Dr. Mossberg takes a group of students to Dublin, Oxford, London and Paris to participate in her program, The Genius of Study Abroad: Revolutionary Imagination, in which she asks the students to look at travel, foreign places and experiences and their direct contact with the “other” as part of transformative learning. With examples from across the arts and sciences, Dr. Mossberg invites the students to interact with these places and experiences through the lens of an “exemplar” – a person from history or fiction chosen by the student to act as a “lens” for engagement and examination of their surroundings in addition to their own. Her coursework inspires creative and exemplary final projects, but it is her warm and caring nature as a mentor, leader and encourager that inspires lasting bonds with her students and contributes to group cohesion and personal development as well as academic discovery. We are so grateful she is part of the GEO family, and we congratulate her on receiving this award!