All IU Kokomo students are commuters, coming from throughout north central Indiana. Many of them have never traveled to Chicago, let alone to another country. Internationalizing these students, making them aware of the interconnected global nature of the world today is one of our primary educational objectives. But many of our students are place-bound and cannot participate in semester abroad and other such enriching international experiences. Therefore, we have to approach internationalization from a much different perspective. We have found that partnerships and relationship-building in other countries is key to sustainability and to providing our students with a deep immersion experience in as little as a week. Even though we have had short term international experiences for students in Turkey, France and Italy, we also have three programs where partnerships are essential to high quality, sustainable programming. These programs exist in South Korea, England and Guatemala.
The relationship between IU Kokomo and universities in South Korea began in 1999 when our then Chancellor Emita Hill met Dr. Lee Seung at an international education program. In 1999, Dr. Lee hosted a visit by Vice Chancellor Stuart Green and Michael Tulley, Ph.D. and Dianne Roden, Ph.D. to Margaret Pritchard University, now Jesus University (Jeonju) and Sungshin Women’s University (Seoul). A memorandum of understanding was executed between Indiana University Kokomo and these universities. IU Kokomo acknowledged Dr. Lee’s commitment to international education with a well-deserved honorary doctorate to add to his earned doctorate. Dr. Lee has been the largest financial supporter of the faculty and student exchange programs since 2000.
The Innovation Symposium (England):
This program began in 2006 with a collaboration between Kathleen Ligocki and Karla Stouse. Students at all college levels and from all majors are welcome but they must be nominated by faculty and chosen through an essay and interview process. As many as ten students may participate. Student participation is subsidized by donors; Kathleen Ligocki, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Lasbury, the IU Kokomo Staff Council, and the Committee for Applied Learning.
After a semester of reading and researching about philanthropy, the environment, and technology, the students travel to England and Scotland in May and June, where they meet people working in these areas, and visit museums and ecological sites. In England, they discuss social entrepreneurship at celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's foundation, which offers unemployed young people the chance to train for careers in the restaurant industry. They tour Covent Garden, with homeless people as their tour guides. They also visit the London Science Museum, Isaac Newton's home, the laboratory of penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming, the Bodlein Library, the British Library, the British Museum, and Westminster Abbey.
"As they study historical and current innovators and innovations, they practice thinking outside the box, and examine new ways to solve problems," said Karla Stouse, senior lecturer in English, who leads the trip.
Students taking Spanish for Healthcare Providers in summer 2007 heard about the work of their faculty with Ambassadors for Children and wanted to arrange a spring break trip where they could benefit children in an underdeveloped country. They enlisted the support of Lecturer in Spanish Christina Taff and Nursing Professor Linda Wallace. The first service learning trip occurred over spring break in 2008 in collaboration with Ambassadors for Children. Students fundraised to buy hygienic and educational supplies for children in and near Antigua. While there they taught educational programs and completed hygienic checks for 800 children. While the program was a huge success, the student organization that guided this exchange opted to dissolve the relationship with Ambassadors for Children. The program was re-established in 2011 with partners in Guatemala. Activities include doing educational programs for children and assisting in building projects. Two other nursing faculty, Professor Narwold and more recently Professor Ledbetter, have co-led these exchanges with Professor Christina Taff.