Vandermaas-Peeler presents with colleagues at two international conferences

Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, director of the Center for Research on Global Engagement and professor of psychology, offered insights from research with colleagues from six institutions. 

Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, director of the Center for Research on Global Engagement and professor of psychology, collaborated with colleagues from six institutions to present research at two international conferences in October 2018.

Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, director of the Center for Research on Global Engagement and professor of psychology?
​At the fourth European Forum on Education Abroad, she joined fellow Elon faculty member Eric Hall, professor of exercise science and Center for Engaged Learning Faculty Fellow, Tina Mangieri, associate academic director at DIS, Study Abroad in Scandinavia, and Osman Ahmed, lecturer in physiotherapy and global engagement lead at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, in presenting “Developing International Partnerships: Benefits and Challenges of Mentoring Undergraduate Research in a European Context.”

The four co-presenters reviewed research on high-impact practices and their benefits for students and faculty, discussed salient practices associated with high-quality undergraduate research mentoring, presented two case studies that demonstrate how to translate research into practice, and offered evidence-based guidance for those interested in starting or augmenting undergraduate research programs in a European context.

In a second presentation at forum entitled “‘You will never have just one home anymore’: Facilitating cultural and community integration during study abroad in Europe,” Vandermaas-Peeler collaborated with Maja Sbahi Biehl and Jennifer Duncan-Bendix, colleagues from DIS, as well as Academic Director Antonio Vanni and Director of Marketing Elisabetta Santanni from Accademia Europa di Firenze. The presentation explored cultural and community engagement of students during study abroad in European contexts. The presenters shared research and practice with programs designed to facilitate academic and cultural integration through community networking and discussed innovative ways to facilitate students’ integration in host communities.

At the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Bergen, Norway, Vandermaas-Peeler joined Elon colleagues Joan Ruelle, dean of the library and associate professor, and Tim Peeples, senior associate provost and professor of English, in co-presenting a paper entitled “Mapping Understandings of Global Engagement.”

In this research, the co-authors examined the term “global engagement” within the scholarly literature of global learning and high-impact educational practices and mapped the use of conceptually related terms into three domains: learning/knowledge, skills/behavior and attitudes/dispositions. The research culminated in a proposed operational definition that will clarify the term and provide guidance for an emerging scholarship of global engagement: “Global engagement occurs when there is intentional integration of three critical foundational domains: learning/knowledge, skills/behaviors, and attitudes/dispositions.”

A second ISSOTL presentation featured a collaboration between Enrico Cecconi, Italian language coordinator at the University of Bath, and Vandermaas-Peeler entitled “A Sociocultural Analysis of Fostering Intercultural Understanding Through Language Studies Abroad,” in which they investigated the language experiences of alumni of Elon’s semester study abroad program in Florence, Italy. Students rated their experiences in the city (e.g., talking to local vendors, going to markets) with language instructors, peers, and on their own as highly significant for their language learning.

The results support the sociocultural theoretical perspective that participation in “situated activities” in everyday life fosters development and learning and enhances preparation for the future (Lave & Wenger, 1991).

Finally, in a panel entitled “Cultivating a culture of learning: Mentoring undergraduate research in global contexts,” Amy Allocco, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Multifaith Scholars Program and Brian Pennington, professor of religious studies and director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society, joined Eric Hall and Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler to highlight high-quality undergraduate research mentoring practices and describe program initiatives from diverse perspectives and disciplinary lenses that support student and faculty development to create a “culture of learning” that transcends courses, programs, departments and institutions.