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Internationalizing STEM

By Inside Higher Ed

February 24, 2014

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Presenters at this year's Association of International Education Administrators conference described a pair of programs in which students double-major in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field and a foreign language.

Currently in its third year is Northern Arizona University's Global Science and Engineering Program, a five-year initiative in which students earn both a B.S. in a STEM discipline and a B.A. in a foreign language. Students take courses in both the language and the STEM field during their freshman year, while their fourth year is spent abroad before returning to campus for the final year. "We try hard not to sell it as an elite program because I think that kind of language is a language of exclusion and we want to have as many students participate in the program as possible," says Northern Arizona's Harvey Charles.

Meanwhile, Valparaiso University's Valparaiso International Engineering Program lets students earn double majors in an engineering discipline and a foreign language and spend a year overseas. "One of our strategic objectives overall for the university is that every student has a cross-cultural experience," says Valparaiso College of Engineering dean Eric W. Johnson. He notes that students generally cannot begin language study until their second year due to other course requirements.

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