Breaking New Ground: A Case Study of Curriculum Integration at Plymouth State University through Partnership with a Third Party Study Abroad Provider


This case study investigates the collaboration between a third party study abroad provider and a US higher education institution (HEI) on curriculum integration. The Center for International Studies (CIS) and Plymouth State University (PSU) are the case study subjects, as they have successfully integrated the CIS Adventure Education Study Abroad Program at La Trobe University in Australia into Plymouth State University’s BSc in Adventure Education curriculum. Prior to this collaboration, neither PSU nor CIS had integrated a study abroad program into the curriculum of a degree program.

The research question is: How did CIS facilitate the integration of study abroad into the curriculum at Plymouth State University? The sub questions are:

• Why did PSU choose to collaborate with CIS rather than proceed independently?

• How can this study result in a model applicable to other practitioners in the field?

• What are advantages/disadvantages to using a provider for curriculum integration?

The study began with examination of textual information, including contracts, websites, brochures, email communication, and relevant literature in the field of International Education. From this textual analysis the faculty and administrators directly responsible for the integration of the CIS study abroad program into PSU’s curriculum were identified, and interviews were arranged with each where possible. Data gathered in the interviews was organized and formatted into a flow chart to illuminate the CIS/PSU process. Each step of the curriculum integration process was written out as a set of guidelines. The flowchart and guidelines were reviewed by interviewees for feedback and fine tuning. As a result, a replicable model was established that CIS can use to further its work in curriculum integration and that will be applicable to other practitioners in the field.


International and Comparative Education

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