Using a Preflective Activity to Identify Faculty Beliefs Prior to an International Professional Development Experience
Keywords:global competency, teaching, study abroad, preflection, faculty
Today’s college graduates in agricultural and life sciences must be prepared to work in a global society. Increasing the integration of international content into on–campus courses requires globally competent faculty members. This study reports faculty’s initial attitudes and beliefs about Latin American culture prior to participating in a 12–day professional development experience in Costa Rica and what they expected to gain from the international experience. A basic qualitative design was used for this study. Ten agricultural and life sciences faculty at the University of Georgia were included in the population. A survey instrument with four open–ended questions was used for data collection. Content analysis was used to analyze the data and trustworthiness was maintained by including an audit trail, triangulation, acknowledgement of researcher bias, and member checks. Three major themes (and several subthemes) emerged from the responses to the question on attitudes and beliefs about Latin American culture: U.S comparisons, beliefs about the country/region, and Latin American values. The preflection process and results should be integrated into international faculty experiences and used to help participants and trip organizers maximize faculty learning, and, ultimately, student learning.