Submitted Fall, 2005
This year I sent out two surveys. One of the surveys was sent to international studies majors while a second was sent to faculty who teach international studies courses. The international studies student survey was sent to all international studies majors during the first week of the Fall semester 2005. 20 surveys were returned from the 76 that were sent out. The survey was designed to seek attitudes and to look at the program objectives 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8. Each item represents and addresses one of the eight goals of the program. Although the survey was designed to address goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 it also looks at goal 4.
The second survey was sent out to faculty who teach courses for International Studies. Seven of eight surveys were returned. The survey was designed to gather information about what faculty think they are teaching and how what they reported compared to what students reported.
I. RESULTS OF SURVEY I
- The majority of the students are not aware of the job possibilities for students who major in international studies.
- Globalization is a concept about which students have a good idea. 60% agree that they have learned about globalization in various courses and 55% in general studies. 65% agree that they feel they are members of a global society. Only 40% said they learned about the effects of globalization.
- 95% of respondents recognize the interrelatedness of culture and how cultures interact. 100% agreed that their culture has been influenced by other cultures.
- When asked if the outside world was responsible for problems, the consensus was no. The same was true for economic problems. When asked if third world countries had to pollute to make economic strides, the majority said no. Perhaps if students had learned more about the effects of globalization, their answers would change here.
- When it comes to relationships, students are comfortable around people of other cultures and go out of their way to learn about new things. However, when asked if they have close friends who are foreign, students range all over the scale.
- Students are not sure about cultural bias and are not able to see it in either in local or national press. Bias is hard to recognize and is an advanced skill. This skill needs to be addressed somewhere in the curriculum.
- All strongly agreed that travel was important.
- In second language use, students were neutral about their discomfort in speaking a foreign language but quite comfortable in speaking their second language but hesitant speaking with native speakers of the target language.
- Three questions were added about the International Studies program. The results were expected.
- Students think that the world's opinion about the U.S. has changed over the past two years. This reinforces what I thought but never asked.
One interesting aspect of this survey is that of the 20 who returned it, 8 are freshmen. One would expect that since this is there first semester at UNK, the answers to the questions would probably be based on knowledge that the students brought with them.
|Objective 1 -
||Students in survey did not know what jobs that were available for international studies majors. This information needs to be disseminated in a handout early in the students' career and later in the last year of studies.
|Objective 2 -
||Students have a working knowledge of culture. Meets objective.
|Objective 3 -
||Students have learned about a global society and are unaware of the wide range of definitions of the term globalism and what it implies. Meets objective.
|Objective 4 -
||Student are comfortable with the term interrelatedness. Meets objectives.
|Objective 5 -
||This objective is not addressed in the survey. The survey does ask students to rate their own skills measuring comfort of speaking a second language. Self-assessment helps to find out students self identified cultural closeness.
|Objective 6 -
||Bias is something students are not able to recognize very well. A review of the required courses needs to be conducted to see where bias is addressed. More data needs to be collected and analyzed before changes are made.
|Objective 7 -
||Students report that they are curious about learning about other cultures. Meets objective.
|Objective 8 -
||Students report themselves to be tolerant and accepting of peoples of different cultures. Meets objective.
What changes or additions to the program students would like to see:
- Students would like to have an international studies club.
- Students need a sense of belonging to something and don't feel that now.
- Improve the study abroad program.
- More upper-level classes in the program.
- More options of classes to take.
Reaction to comments and changes to consider
- A club has been considered and started on an informal basis at one time. There needs to be a club or venues provided for the students to make them feel like they belong to a strong department.
- The study abroad program is strong with many offerings. We need to market the options better. We need to send out brochures about our programs to IS majors and minors.
- At the present time, over half of the courses (21 credit hours) for the major are upper-level.
- A review of courses offered at UNK need to be taken. Yearly updates need to be made and it needs to become clearer to students that there are more electives options than those given on the catalog.
A way must be found to make students feel more like they belong to a department. Since no courses are taught in the department, it is difficult for students to feel like they belong. The International Studies Committee must meet to discuss what changes can be made so as to create a home for the IS students.
Because there are no courses taught directly by IS and all courses are from other departments, there is no convenient way to distribute information to students about their major or minor.
The IS Committee must look at some changes in the major and minor to see if an intro course or senior's course is needed. An Introduction to IS course would bring all new IS majors and minors together.
Another possiblity discussion point is how the World Affairs Conference could be used to help create home for IS students.
Finally, faculty need to be asked to be sure to cover certain topics in their courses.