Accent has an active network of dynamic faculty in each location. All faculty hold advanced degrees from highly regarded U.S. and local universities and are citizens or long-term residents of their host countries with extensive local networks. They bring years of experience developing courses and teaching for the education abroad classroom and are experts at incorporating their host city into each lesson through guest speakers, on-site lectures, museums, monuments, companies, and NGOs.
While the past year saw many on-site programs and courses cancelled, an Accent Faculty Workshop Series brought together instructors across Accent locations to explore new hybrid and online course models, develop best practices for online instruction, and further strengthen a sense of community and intellectual exchange within the group. Coordinated by Madrid director Vanessa Rodríguez García, the series included seven meetings, ranging from workshops on syllabus development and online course management tools, to discussions of pedagogy and student development.
Each of the workshops was centered around feedback from faculty, provided through questionnaires distributed in advance to collect experiences with topics including student self-regulation, classroom systems and co-creative learning, and misunderstandings and pragmatic failure in classroom language. This feedback was used by the faculty themselves to develop and lead presentations to the group, each of which relied heavily on discussion, breakout sessions, and the exchange of ideas.
In one of the final workshops, Accent staff led a discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the education abroad classroom setting. The interactive discussion explored the ways in which stereotypes and oversimplified thinking — about our students and their experiences, but also within our perceptions of their expectations and ideas about the host-country — may undermine the goals of courses and programs abroad. Participants shared scenarios from the classroom that were used as case studies for small group discussion, before the full group explored ways in which classrooms can be made more inclusive through language and action. These discussions took into account U.S. American perspectives and expectations, while also considering the treatment and language of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the host cultures of Spain, France, Italy, and the U.K.
Enthusiasm was high for each of the workshop topics, and especially for the opportunity to connect with faculty peers from different disciplines, cultures, and contexts.
Contact Accent to learn more about the development of customized semester programs, including experiential coursework with our expert local faculty.