For international scholars, spending time on the Northern Arizona University Flagstaff campus is an opportunity to learn from American peers.
The Center for International Education started the Scholars Academy Program in 2008 and has hosted more than 300 individuals.
“The hosting of international faculty from around the world is a fundamental part of campus internationalization,” said Daniel Palm, director for Global Academic Engagement and soon to become the interim CIE director. “International faculty members bring global perspectives to the campus community and enrich the diversity and knowledge of the academy.”
Visiting international faculty members report numerous benefits from participating in the academy, from experiencing the culture and gaining a new perspective on academics.
“They are very interested in learning best practices in western higher education and methods they can take home to use in their own schools,” said Beverly Amer, a principal lecturer of accounting and information systems in the W. A. Franke College of Business. “This exposure provides a rich platform for idea exchange,” she added.
Amer and her husband, T.S. Amer, a professor of accounting, have hosted and mentored six scholars during the past several years.
One former visiting scholar, Li Wang, worked closely with Alan Lew, a geography, planning and recreation professor. Wang said she learned a lot by observing Lew’s teaching, including ideas and skills she planned to incorporate into her teaching at Anhui Normal University in China.
Many visiting scholars’ time at NAU is spent observing faculty members in the classroom. However, the visitors also bring potential collaborations in global research along with unique perspectives.
“In example after example of faculty and students at NAU, we understand that international experiences lead to opportunities for the creation and sharing of new knowledge that is crucial to enhancing scholastic excellence and rigor,” Palm said.