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American Fellows Pilot Program Seeks to Build on AY16-17 Success

By Dr. Brittany Bounds, ISMO

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AY16-17 FSL Dan Curfiss, Col Ret. (NESA) -- “The American Studies Seminar reached out last fall to expand its faculty strength to support a directive by the President of NDU to expand the academic vitality of the program by giving the IFs opportunities to meet with and exchange intellectually with additional faculty members from throughout the university.  As a history major and a professor at the NESA Center this seemed an ideal fit because the NESA mission is to reach out to our region in an academic setting to develop stronger relationships with MOD, MOFA, MOI, and scholars at or near the same level of expertise as the IFs. This turned out to be true in practice, as with learning and developing thoughts and discussing these experiences practically and intellectually about how the US operates in decision- and policy-making and execution, as well as exploring Americana and learning how and why America is America, helped broaden my discourse with our NESA participants.”
SLIDESHOW | 1 of 5 | AY16-17 Faculty Seminar Leader Dan Curfiss, Col Ret. (NESA) AY16-17 FSL Dan Curfiss, Col Ret. (NESA) -- “The American Studies Seminar reached out last fall to expand its faculty strength to support a directive by the President of NDU to expand the academic vitality of the program by giving the IFs opportunities to meet with and exchange intellectually with additional faculty members from throughout the university. As a history major and a professor at the NESA Center this seemed an ideal fit because the NESA mission is to reach out to our region in an academic setting to develop stronger relationships with MOD, MOFA, MOI, and scholars at or near the same level of expertise as the IFs. This turned out to be true in practice, as with learning and developing thoughts and discussing these experiences practically and intellectually about how the US operates in decision- and policy-making and execution, as well as exploring Americana and learning how and why America is America, helped broaden my discourse with our NESA participants.”

Each year, International Fellows (IFs) attending NDU's Eisenhower School and the National War College have the option to enroll in a two-semester American Studies elective course, complete with classroom instruction, seminar discussions, and field practicum travel for hands-on experiential learning. Last year, NDU President MG Frederick Padilla encouraged the International Student Management Office (ISMO) to expand the American presence in the course to allow the IFs greater access to diverse American perspectives, and to deepen the international-American friendships forged at NDU. 

Scroll through the photo gallery to read quotes from AY16-17 Faculty Seminar Leaders.

In AY16-17, for the first time, the American Studies course incorporated faculty and student fellows from across NDU. The successful pilot program has resulted in improved connectivity, networking and relationships between the IFs, their academic peers and advisers, and NDU's colleges and components.

American Fellows

In the fall semester of 2016, the American Studies course incorporated two American Fellows into the elective. LTC Mike Shoen from the U.S. Army Reserves and FSO John Maher from the Department of State served as the first American Fellows and traveled with the fellows to Boston and Tennessee; LTC Michelle “MC” Carns and LTC Kevin Kirsch joined the cohort in the spring and traveled to New Orleans and San Francisco. The students participated fully in classroom lectures, seminar discussions, and field practicum visits, and provided their American perspective and insight into the learning objectives and topics of the course. As college colleagues, they have the unique ability to reach the IFs in creating relationships beyond the limits of ISMO staff and NDU faculty to replicate the strong bonds formed among the IF cohort that last for many years to come. They have proven their enthusiasm and commitment to the fellows in hosting them at their house, scheduling group outings, and establishing future plans for contact. Their presence has already become indispensable to the program and has reaped many rewards in facilitating communication and rapport.

Faculty Seminar Leaders

ISMO also integrated its first cohort of NDU faculty into the fall and spring elective as Faculty Seminar Leaders. Both colleges in which the IFs are enrolled — NWC and ES —volunteered interested faculty members, and the research components INSS and NESA also willingly provided two fellows to lead seminars. All five faculty members were outstanding in teaching and refining the program, providing their experience to help make connections between the American Studies course and college curriculum or current studies. While helping the fellows develop their own critical thinking skills, they also benefitted from hearing international perspectives on American issues, helping to clarify their own identity and standpoint as an American.  The FSLs also understand more deeply the experience of the IFs as they face challenges of language interpretation in readings, lectures, and writing papers, and the time out of class devoted to the field practicums.

ISMO is actively recruiting two Faculty Seminar Leaders for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. Ideally, FSLs participate in both the fall and spring semesters, and can travel once a year with the class in a time frame that aligns with their college schedule. We are open to faculty and qualified fellows from the NDU colleges and components, including CASL, CIC, CISA, CWMD, ES, NWC, NESA, and INSS. FSLs should have teaching experience and knowledge of American systems and institutions. The American Studies elective runs every Tuesday afternoon for twelve weeks per term. FSLs participate in a weekly meeting, attend the weekly lecture, lead a discussion seminar, and grade two short papers per semester.

ISMO will hold two information sessions for those interested on April 19 at 1445 and April 20 at 1300 in the ISMO classroom, Marshall Hall Room 154, to provide more details. Please contact Dr. Brittany Bounds of ISMO with additional questions at Brittany.bounds.civ@ndu.edu