The Cal State Fullerton College of Education will host the inaugural International Conference on Education in an effort to achieve goals set down in the university’s four-year strategic plan.
The conference was planned with the goal of promoting the college’s programs on the international stage and increasing the number of CSUF students who participate in international activities. One of the goals listed in the strategic plan is to increase opportunities for students to collaborate internationally and participate in study abroad programs.
It has been very difficult to get students into international programs at the College of Education, which consists mainly of graduate students, said Melinda Pierson, Ph.D., chair for the College of Special Education and coordinator for the event.
Most of them have jobs and family here, which they don’t want to leave to go to another country, she said.
Nevertheless, the College of Education tries to not only match California state teacher credentialing standards and requirements, but also tries to expose its students to new opportunities on the international stage, Pierson said.
“We want our students to have as much experience with people from different cultures,” Pierson said. “We believe it will strengthen their ability to understand diverse backgrounds, and to be able to successfully support them in classrooms.”
The conference will include multiple presentations from CSUF faculty and students, as well as faculty from international universities, Pierson said.
Professors from Puerto Rico, Bulgaria, Germany and China will all be presenting at the conference, and two professors from Poland will be giving a presentation via Skype, she said.
The event will primarily highlight two programs: the CSUF study abroad program in Puerto Rico and the International Internet Project that involves students and faculty from eight different countries, Pierson said.
The Puerto Rico International Education Program allows undergraduate and pre-service teachers to do field work and community service on the island of Vieques for two weeks.
A small group of people participate every summer, Pierson said.
In keeping with that message, this year’s keynote panel will feature faculty who lead the Puerto Rico program, including its founder, Julián Jefferies, Ph.D.
The College of Education will also advertise its programs around the world to increase the inflow of international students to CSUF, she said.
Pierson said she hopes that CSUF will hold the conference every year and will continue to increase its participation in the event.
“(The college will be) developing collaboration with faculty from international institutions and bringing them to Cal State Fullerton, so that we can share ideas on how to get our students more involved in international activities and experiences,” she said.
The conference will take place on March 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in College Park room 500.
The event is free, but the number of seats is limited to 60. Those who would like to attend will need to fill out a registration form available at the College of Education website. There are currently about 10 seats still open, Pierson said.