Roberts, T. G., Rodriguez, M. T., Gouldthorpe, J. L., Stedman, N. L. P. Harder, A., and Hartmann, M. Exploring Outcomes Two Years after an International Faculty Abroad Experience. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(1), 30-41. doi: 10.5032/jae.2016.01030
The National Research Council (2009) emphasized the importance of enhancing the undergraduate experience to better prepare graduates to work in a global economy. The NRC went further to suggest college faculty might need professional development to make appropriate changes. In 2010, as a part of a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant, eight faculty in agriculture and natural resources from the University of Florida participated in a 14-day faculty abroad experience to Ecuador to explore their discipline in that country. The purpose of this study was to understand the outcomes evident two years after that experience on the faculty participants. Results revealed changes in attitudes, aspirations, knowledge, and behaviors. Changes in attitudes and aspirations included: the importance of international experiences, the benefits of meeting new colleagues, the value in learning from the other participants, the importance of multidisciplinary interactions, credibility, the importance of authentic interactions, and a desire to learn more. Faculty participants in this experience learned about the Ecuadorian context, learned about their discipline, and learned about pedagogy. Behavior changes included: considering the cultural context, focusing more of their work on Latin America, emphasizing study abroad programs, interacting with new people, and teaching others about what they learned in Ecuador.