University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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Sept. 17, 2004


Second Annual Workshop on International Development Held at UW-RF

By Kari Johnson
UW-RF News Bureau

Establishment of an international studies major by next fall and development of a campus-wide international center are primary goals of the UWRF Association for International Development (RF-AID), which held its second annual Workshop on International Development Sept. 10-11. Workshop participants emphasized the need for action concerning international development at the college level.

Established in 2002, RF-AID includes about 30 current and emeriti UW-River Falls faculty, staff, and administrators from four colleges. Currently the University has an international studies minor, and the expansion to an interdisciplinary major and the creation of an international development center would enhance communication between the four colleges at UWRF and strengthen the objectives of the association, say RF-AID members.

The association's mission is to enhance curriculum offerings, to develop and support research and other projects, to acquire grant money, to serve students, and to participate in consulting opportunities. Additionally, it hopes to better serve and improve the circumstances of students and people in less developed countries such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

UW-River Falls continues to expand its international opportunities, from three-week study tours to semester abroad programs as well as international faculty and student exchanges. These international experiences in college offer students exposure to the world at an affordable price, said Brent Greene, director of international programs.

By having faculty with international experience, students at UW-River Falls benefit inside and outside the classroom, says Ginny Coombs, vice chancellor and provost. The benefit students see is the increased enthusiasm an instructor brings to class after studying or working abroad.

Additionally, instructors serve as role models and informants, broadening the horizons of their students by encouraging study abroad opportunities. Through international experiences, instructors also continue to improve and develop curriculum and engage in grant writing to obtain better course materials, says Coombs.

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