The University of West Florida College of Education and Professional Studies Emerge Program sponsored a group of nine students to participate in a college-wide, interdisciplinary study abroad opportunity in Japan in May 2015.
The Japan Study Abroad Program was hosted in collaboration with the Jikei Group of Colleges and led by Paula Rappe, assistant professor of social work, and Kimberly Tatum, associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies and associate professor of legal studies.
The Emerge Program emphasizes the development of 21st century skills related to career development, such as global awareness, initiative and self-direction, flexibility and adaptability, social and cross-cultural skills, critical thinking and problem solving.
The study abroad program consisted of pre-departure learning activities, the study abroad experience and post-trip reflections. During the trip, students participated in cultural and educational excursions, interacted with Japanese students and took part in community service projects.
The program is offered to undergraduate and graduate students majoring or minoring in any program within the College of Education and Professional Studies.
Rappe, Tatum and Janice Morton, the Emerge Program coordinator, chose students through a competitive application process.
This was the second year the College of Education and Professional Studies sponsored the trip. In its second year, the following students were selected for the trip from a large applicant pool of many talented students:
- Michael Swaney – undergraduate, social work
- Elizabeth Cox – undergraduate, social work
- Jessica Urbaniak – undergraduate, social work
- Zoe Brunner – undergraduate, social work
- Lori Lombardo – graduate, MSW
- Kandace Johnson – undergraduate, education, exceptional student
- Courtney Miller – graduate, CSAA
- Ashley Sampson – graduate, education, elementary
- Patricia Wheeler – undergraduate, education, elementary
The program is part of the Emerge Initiative, which was developed to help faculty within the College of Education and Professional Studies design and utilize high impact practices that deepen student learning and engagement. By using a combination of techniques, the practices raise levels of performance, retention and success for all students.
The Japan Study Abroad Program emphasizes the high-impact practice of service learning. It gives students direct experience with issues they study in a curriculum and allows them to apply what they learn in real-world settings before reflecting on their experience in written assignments and group presentations.
It also allows students to explore different cultures, life experiences and worldviews through diversity and global learning. The Japan Study Abroad Program is funded by a Pace Academic Development Grant from the Office of the Provost under Martha Saunders.