U of A, LSU Faculty to Collaborate on Study Abroad Research

Erin Casey
LSU

Erin Casey

Two University of Arkansas faculty members will work with a U of A alumna who received a Southeastern Conference Faculty Travel Program grant to fund a study-abroad research project.

Jean Henry, associate professor of community health promotion, and Molly Jensen, clinical associate professor of marketing, will work with Erin Casey, an assistant professor of education at Louisiana State University, on an article about study abroad in Belize.

Henry has accompanied students to the U of A faculty-led study-abroad program in Belize and Jensen serves as co-faculty director of the Belize project, which focuses on community development. Casey, who earned her doctorate in 2010 from the U of A, taught on the Fayetteville campus for five years before going to LSU. She also accompanied students on the Belize trip when she was on the U of A faculty.

The SEC travel grant program is in its sixth year of providing support for faculty members from the 14 SEC universities to collaborate with each other. This year, more than 100 faculty members will take part in the program. The funding gives SEC faculty members the opportunity to travel to another SEC campus to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals and conduct research.

Casey has been researching educational initiatives in Belize and will come to Fayetteville in October. A proposed article titled "Burn-out in Belize" will investigate reasons faculty working with study abroad programs for several years might choose to end their involvement and pass the opportunity to another faculty members. The research could contribute to future design and faculty placement of study abroad programs.

"In addition to an initial publication, we are also hoping to design a questionnaire that can be used internationally for understanding faculty commitments to study abroad programs," Casey said.

Henry added that, in the community health field, study abroad offers learning opportunities and perspectives that are not possible through other avenues.

"Quality faculty mentorship within these programs is essential to ensuring the desired, targeted learning for health-science pre-professionals," Henry said. "This research holds promise to help us better understand how to plan for consistently high-quality faculty involvement."

Like the community health and education fields, study abroad for business students offers experiences students cannot get in the classroom, Jensen said.

"This is particularly true of programs like the Belize Community Development Project where students work in a developing nation," she said. "Business students completed an array of tasks ranging from teaching economics in schools to managing a micro-lending program. For faculty, programs like these offer an exciting 'classroom' coupled with more work and planning than a traditional class."

Contacts

Heidi S. Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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