Longitudinal Impacts of a Faculty Abroad Program: 1994-2007
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When surveyed, faculty generally believe that study abroad is desirable or essential, that it is important to work with people from different cultural backgrounds, it helps people to function effectively in another culture within their profession, and enhances knowledge of current international issues and affairs (Dooley, Dooley & Carranza, 2008; Towsic, n.d.). Sending faculty to programs abroad can therefore enhance academic potential (zturgut, 2007). The 10-day Faculty Abroad Seminar (FAS) sponsored through the Office of Mexican and Latin American Programs at Texas A and M University was developed to contribute to the internationalization of faculty by directly exposing them to the culture, history, government, business, and language of Mexico. The main objective was for faculty participants to incorporate applicable global experiences into their teaching and research programs. The purpose of this study was to determine the longitudinal impacts of the FAS on participants from 1994-2007 in terms of teaching and research collaboration and personal fulfillment. As faculty participants reflected about their teaching and research impacts, a higher percentage of respondents had teaching impacts compared with research impacts (74 percent and 64 percent, respectively). In describing personal impacts participants' comments supported the belief that the Faculty Abroad Seminar changed them, personally, and professionally.