SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – A Penn State Shenango Assistant Professor of Nursing spent her summer abroad in Europe.
Dr. Maureen Dunn spent this past summer networking with faculty from the Catholic University in Lille, France and at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.
Dunn’s trip was in collaboration with the Penn State University’s Experimental Digital Global Engagement (EDGE) program.
The EDGE program allows Penn State Shenango classes to connect with students on a global scale, furthering the development of 21st-century workforce skills.
Other faculty members from the Shenango campus have also been involved in the EDGE program, including Dr. Katherine Shaffer, assistant teaching professor of chemistry, and Chancellor Jenifer Cushman.
Shaffer is now the secretary for the University’s program and works in collaboration with a faculty member from the University of Split in Croatia to provide a virtual international learning experience for students in both countries.
EDGE uses technology to create a “virtual international exchange” by utilizing Collaborative Online International Learning, which was developed by The State University of New York to refine the concept of globally networked learning.
“Bringing an opportunity for international collaboration to my first-year chemistry students has always been one of my goals,” said Shaffer. “Working with faculty across the ocean to enable my students to experience this type of technology will definitely check off a few boxes on my ‘academic’ bucket list of things I’ve wanted to accomplish in my career.”
Currently, Shaffer is working along with University of Split in Croatia professor Dr. Igor Jerkovic in an EDGE collaboration that involves students enrolled in this fall’s chemistry courses from both universities.
Shaffer then pushed the collaboration further by working with the Lecturer in Communications Tiffany Petricini to allow those taking Petricini’s speech class to focus on international communication skills. This helps first-year chemistry students who need extra support in interacting with international students.
The school has many more projects planned for the future, including a collaboration with the Catholic University in Lille, France or The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the fall of 2020.
Shenango professors understand that there may be some challenges, such as language barriers and coordinating class schedules, but that doesn’t concern them or shy them away from this new and innovative practice.