In December 2012, I got the exciting news that I had been selected as one of 14 graduate students to participate in Dean DePauw’s Preparing the Future Professoriate:Global Perspectives Program in May – June 2013. Along with a group of Virginia Tech graduate students, I traveled to Switzerland, France, and Italy to gather insight into higher education and the professoriate on the global scale.
For the majority of the program, we used Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland as a homebase. From there traveled to visit the following institutions to meet with presidents, faculty, graduate students, and researchers:
• Universität Basel
• Universität Zürich
• Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)
• Politecnico di Milano
• Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana (SUPSI)
• Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) and
• Université de Strasbourg
In June the Global Perspectives program culminated with a conference at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C. Teams comprised of students from Virginia Tech and Universität Basel presented our findings on teaching, learning, research, and scholarship.
For this trip, I identified several learning objectives that I plan to investigate:
• To better understand the structure and mission of European universities, especially with respect to the changes involved in implementing the Bologna Process.
• To examine what it might be like to transition from a U.S. university setting to a European one as a professor, or to spend time as a visiting professor at a Bologna Process school.
• To understand how European faculty view their identity as professors. How do they see their relationship with students, the university, the community, etc.
In addition, my research project addressed the following topics:
• Engineering Education is a new discipline in the U.S. (in terms of being a ﬁeld of study in its own). Mike wants to discover if there are departments of Engineering Education in Europe. If not, do the university ofﬁcials see them as a future possible direction?
• Mike will investigate the ways in which the administrators and professors at the universities visited view the importance of student and faculty diversity. Are there diversity initiatives and how are they implemented? How do those initiatives, if they exist, address diversity of sexual identity? Are there university organizations that support LGBTQ students or faculty?