Education Abroad Grant Supports UK Faculty-directed Programs

By Rebecca Stratton, Yan Wang

(April 2, 2015)  Education Abroad at the University of Kentucky awarded Program Development Grants to four UK faculty members to support their international travels for the purpose of establishing faculty-directed education abroad programs.

“This grant provides program directors with the opportunity to gain on site familiarity with their program details,” said Miko McFarland, assistant director of Education Abroad.

Program Development Grants are reviewed by the Education Abroad Committee (EAC) of the International Advisory Council, who makes the recommendation to the associate provost of international programs for final approval.

“The committee looks to see how the intended program will promote global competency and further internationalization initiatives at UK,” McFarland said. “The committee also considers the overall viability, academic interest and sustainability of the intended faculty-directed program.”

The EAC also seeks proposals that will bring diversity to UK’s current education abroad program portfolio.

“We (The EAC) look to see if the faculty-directed program includes a nontraditional destination, such as locations beyond Western Europe, and/or meaningful community engagement opportunities," McFarland. "Inclusion of traditionally underrepresented populations in education abroad (minority students, first generation, nontraditional students, STEM disciplines, etc.) is also taken into consideration.”

The Education Abroad Program Development Grant recipients are:

Joseph Dvorak, assistant professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, will be traveling to Germany to build a program in which students can take a required course for the biosystems and agricultural engineering major.

Brent Rowell, professor in the Department of Horticulture, will develop a program that focuses on sustainable systems in horticultural and agronomic crop production along with examining potential improvements in production and marketing in Cuba.

Eric Grulke, professor of chemical engineering, is developing a course in which students will learn about the development of renewable energy from biomass in Brazil.

Jayoung Koo, assistant professor of landscape architecture, will travel to South Korea to develop a course that will study the dynamic evolution of the South Korean landscape over time.

Eun Young Kim, lecturer of the School of Interiors, is building a six-week program that will consist of a five-week studio and lecture series in South Korea followed by a one-week seminar in Tokyo, Japan. Students on the program will learn about architectural history from a non-Western perspective, and gain an understanding of the relationships between socio-cultural conditions, geographical locations and built environment design in Asia.

As a South Korea immigrant, Kim wants to develop a program to share South Korean culture and history with students at UK.

“What I found at UK is that many students are only familiar with Western cultures,” Kim said. “I did a cultural project for my studio, and students who participated were kind of shocked that Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and China, have different design principles and philosophies.”

Kim said that in the design industry, potential employers often prefer designers who have global perspective. She said this program would help students be more creative and competitive in the job market.

Kim said the grant boosted her in developing her program.

“Having this grant is very helpful,” Kim said. “It really motivated me and made me committed to do the program better.”

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