Q&A: Stephen Appiah-Padi
Director of International Education Stephen Appiah-Padi talks about study abroad at Bucknell.
By Gigi Marino
Q: You've been at Bucknell for three years now. What are some of the initiatives the Office of International Education is concerned with?
About 50 percent of our students participate in study abroad by the time they graduate. We have 12 summer programs for students who can't afford the time to stay abroad for an entire semester. This is the highest these numbers have ever been, but I want us to look more seriously at the impact of study abroad at Bucknell. The most important thing is the curriculum. How can the institution create classes that integrate the studyabroad experience, both for students and faculty? Assessment of the impact of study abroad is another pressing issue.
Q: One of the assessment tools you're using is the Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI). How will this help?
The Office of International Education wants to look at how we prepare students so that they can have a maximum effect on the community. You can throw someone into a culture, and they can have plenty of experiences, but are they actually learning anything? With the GPI, we can measure the impact of study abroad on students' global perspectives and use the result to enhance our programs and preparation of students.
Q: In 2011, the Obama administration proposed a goal of doubling the number of students studying in China, by 2014. In 2012, the 100,000 Strong Foundation was created to help achieve that goal. Is Bucknell participating?
Not directly, but we have seen the numbers of students studying in China slowly increasing. The 100,000 Strong Foundation essentially promotes study abroad in China, so definitely, Bucknell will take advantage of their promotional activities and resources. The federal government, through the International Institute of Education, has made available a number of scholarships to fund study abroad in specific countries, including China and promotion of what is described as "critical languages" to American students. Bucknell takes advantage of these resources. We have also recently established student exchange relations with universities in China, and we are looking to boost the number of Bucknell students who study abroad in China.
Q: Do you have programs for faculty?
All our partnership agreements, especially the one with the Southeast University of China, emphasize research and faculty exchange. We also have Bucknell-in programs, which are led by faculty. We are working toward a new Bucknell-in-Ghana semester program. It will be the first one Bucknell has in Africa.