"Transformative" - This word is often associated with the study off-campus experience for our students. We may have used this word ourselves to describe the effect that study abroad seems to have on our students. But in which ways does this experience transform our students?
Academic Achievement and Study Abroad
This two-part research project was carried out by Alissa Beideck, a Neuroscience major ’11, as a SLU Fellowship in the Summer of 2010 and then continued into her Senior Year Experience. Working with Dr. Crosby-Currie, Associate Professor of Psychology, Alissa first began her research as a quantitative analysis, using GPA trajectory and participation in optional SYEs as measures of academic achievement. Findings suggested a linear growth in GPA for students who studied abroad, particularly those from the lowest quartile after sophomore year. In a qualitative follow-up study, 15 seniors (half of whom had studied abroad) reflected upon their college careers in semi-structured interviews. Three themes emerged from those interviews: the relationship between college adjustment and study abroad, the importance of academic advising in the study abroad decision, and the impact of study abroad on academic focus and confidence. Read more...
The Global Perspectives Inventory
St. Lawrence University participated in the Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI) for three consecutive semesters, Spring 2010, Fall 2010 and Spring 2011. The survey was administered to students before they studied abroad, to the same group of students after they studied abroad, and to all seniors in Spring 2011. The assessment illustrates that the study abroad experience significantly contributes to students' development of the skills necessary to be global citizens (net gains are positive across most of the dimensions the GPI measures); that students who study abroad graduate with greater skills in global perspective taking compared to students who did not study abroad; and that learning gains are not even across all SLU-approved study abroad programs. Overall, the GPI is a tool we will use periodically to assess the success of study abroad, as well as on campus programs such as global studies. Findings have lead us to ask two questions: 1) should we change the program to better accomplish this goal and 2) should all programs automatically be allowed to fulfill our new diversity requirement? Read more...