MA in International Education
In a globalized economy, wherein manufacturing and knowledge trade are international, STEM – science, technology, engineering, math – and vocational degrees lead to international career paths. International experience through education abroad is relevant, therefore, to preparing STEM and vocational students preparing for these international paths. The University of Wisconsin – Stout, Polytechnic (Stout) serves as a case-study for the question: “What elements or structures of an education abroad program should be emphasized to build programs which best serve STEM and vocational students’ unique needs, creating an optimal environment for learning and growth, while preparing them for global careers?” Data collection to address this question includes interviews with the staff of Stout’s Office of International Education (OIE), drawing on all digitally available student records, surveying Stout study abroad student alumni, and follow-up interviews with a number of those students. Findings from each step of this process are analyzed against each other, seeking over-arching trends. Data analysis of program trends match to reported student experiences, and student responses reveal six elements key to programmatic success: academic fit, preparation in academics and mindset, structures which promote growth, location relevance to their field, having a balanced and enjoyable experience, and reflection connecting that experience to their future. These elements suggest application across all education abroad programs of the OIE as well as similar institutions. Beyond these findings, mis-matches between researcher expectations and quantitative and qualitative findings also reveal many opportunities for further investigation into the research question.
Academic Advising | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | Science and Mathematics Education | Vocational Education
Kelley, Amy, "Elements of Successful Education Abroad Programs for STEM and Vocational Students: Lessons from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, Polytechnic" (2019). Capstone Collection. 3171.