The International Development Studies Faculty Mentoring Program

2003 Heiskell Award Winner: Faculty Programs

Colorado State University was also the Honorable Mention of the Heiskell Award for Faculty Programs in 2002.

Nomination submitted by: Alicia Skinner Cook, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies and Martha A. Denney, M.Ed., Director, International Education

Program Mission 
"The goal of the IDS Mentoring program is to provide international development experience for younger faculty through service learning with existing international development projects," according to Peter J. Nicholls, Provost of Colorado State University. The project is now in its third year and has provided faculty development opportunities for twelve Colorado State University faculty from four colleges and nine academic departments. Faculty in the program are paired with an on-going international development project and mentor in a foreign country, and spend up to three weeks on-site in the host country using their professional skills to contribute to the project (e.g., giving workshops on hands-on science education using indigenous materials, designing a needs assessment instrument for an AIDS orphan project, consulting on a gender studies curriculum at a community college, etc). So far, mentoring has taken place in the following countries: Azerbaijan, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Following this experience, faculty revise existing CSU courses and/or create new ones. They are also required to create an interdisciplinary case study. The project integrates faculty development with curriculum enhancement across academic departments and with student international internships, thus enriching student learning as well. Rather than viewing these activities as separate, discrete components, this seamless approach involves academic faculty in advancing their own careers, while enhancing classroom and experiential learning for students, supporting institutional goals, and contributing to an international development project. "Faculty report a new enthusiasm for their work, new respect for their work within their departments and a new focus on helping students gain meaningful experience through international internships," says Peter Nicholls.

The International Development Studies Faculty Mentoring Program was conceptualized and implemented by international education personnel and academic faculty, using a combination of external and institutional funds to support the initiative. The success of this unique model has led to the current expansion of the program and plans for future applications of the model.