from the University of RichmondSept. 12, 2018
In July, a group of 11 graduate students and four faculty members from the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies traveled to Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart, Germany, to participate in a 2018 Summer Study Abroad program developed by the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) program.
Students from three SPCS graduate programs — Curriculum & Instruction, Nonprofit Studies, and ELPS — participated in the course, titled Educational Leadership in a Global Context. The course provided an examination of leadership and practices in the United States, Germany, and other countries regarding equity and reform in K-12 educational systems.
This study abroad program is an outgrowth of an international relationship begun when several SPCS faculty members traveled to Germany in 2016 to cultivate a relationship with Ludwigsburg University of Education (LUE), located in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. LUE offers a master’s degree in International Education Management (INEMA) in partnership with Helwan University in Cairo, Egypt. The INEMA program is led by Dr. Pierre Tulowitzki.
Through this experience, SPCS students were able to alongside INEMA students who come from countries around the globe, including Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, Yemen, Ecuador, and South Korea.
SPCS graduate students were exposed to a global perspective on the importance of leadership associated with K-12 education. The course offered a specific focus on how migration has influenced K-12 educational systems and nonprofit organizations that support families and schools in the United States and Germany. Students explored the ways leadership in governments, educational systems, and education related nonprofit organizations addresses immigration and educational equity.
Course activities included lectures and class discussions in the United States and Germany that addressed caring leadership and close study of immigration and migration patterns, a visit to a German secondary school, excursions in Germany with INEMA students to regional institutions that support schools and families, a joint SPCS/INEMA dinner at a traditional German restaurant, and day trips to local historical sites such as Heidelberg.
Students also discovered, in the middle of a heat wave, that air conditioning is a rarity in German classrooms and hotels — almost as rare as ice in a glass. Ultimately, SPCS students considered what they can do, through their own daily professional roles, to support immigrant populations in Central Virginia in their new communities and school settings.
The class was taught by Dr. Tom Shields and Dr. Kate Cassada from the ELPS program, while Dr. Andrew Schoeneman, Chair of the Nonprofit Studies Program, and Dr, Dionne Ward, Director of ELPS Internships, helped cultivate the curriculum and joined the group in Germany.
The faculty hope to offer this course again in Summer 2019 to interested UR students.