Michigan State University has been selected from among other U.S. institutions to host more than 40 Indonesian educators who will explore education and teacher preparation in our nation.
The MSU College of Education was chosen for the USAID-funded program, implemented by the Institute for International Education, in September, and welcomed the first cohort of international educators to campus on Sunday, Oct. 11.
The educators come from seven different universities across Indonesia and will stay for eight weeks. They are learning about K-16 education and different practica approaches used by colleges and universities to prepare educators, including Michigan State’s renowned Teacher Preparation Program.
“Indonesia is in the process of re-inventing their teacher preparation,” said Margaret Crocco, chair of the Department of Teacher Education, and director of the new exchange program. “They are looking to learn more from other nations in how to set up their educational programs. This program will help them to see the differences between U.S. and Indonesian systems of education, and also help them develop action plans based on what they have learned to implement at their home institutions.”
The program, called University Connect, is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Indonesia Program to Extend Scholarships and Training to Achieve Sustainable Impacts (PRESTASI). The Institute for International Education, which administers the program, is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing international education worldwide.
MSU is the first university to be awarded funding for University Connect, a new program. The award to MSU is $633,184.
The first cohort will complete the first iteration of the program on Dec. 4. Ministry of Education officials from Indonesia will be on campus Nov. 16-20 to learn about education in the U.S. The second cohort of teacher educators will arrive Feb. 2, 2016, and will finish on March 25, 2016.
“We are excited to be given the opportunity to have educators from across Indonesia here on campus,” said Lynn Paine, assistant dean for international studies in education. She is serving as one of the program’s coordinators, and spent time in Indonesia recently to help prepare the participants.
Alongside her is Samantha Caughlan, former MSU professor, who joined Paine in Indonesia and will help the participants take full advantage of the resources available to them at MSU.
“One of the great aspects of this program is not only the opportunity to introduce and teach the Indonesian educators about MSU’s Teacher Preparation Program, but also for them to be able to meet and collaborate with other education leaders and alumni on campus and around the area,” Paine continued.
Participants will hear from many faculty members in the Department of Teacher Education, and also observe and shadow local interns, field instructors and mentors; visit other universities where Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education graduates are teaching; and learn more about the culture of Michigan and the United States with visits to local museums and the Michigan Capitol.
Other on-campus groups and individuals involved include Siddharth Chandra, director of the Asian Studies Center; Tom Bird, associate professor emeritus, who will help with the connection between MSU faculty and University Connect participants; Qing Xia from the Visiting International Professional Program; local community members with with Community Volunteers for International Programs; and many graduate students in the college.
“It is a global world we live in, and it is important our horizons go beyond this nation,” Crocco said. “This will be a wonderful experience to share with our doctoral students. The more exposed they are to global opportunities, the better prepared they will be. Our department will also benefit from this collaboration through better understanding of how teacher education is developing in other parts of the world.”