Grounding Faculty-led programs in Experiential Education Pedagogy and Decolonial Perspectives

Field Seminar Overview

This seminar will focus on best practices and strategies for grounding experiential learning pedagogy and decolonial perspectives in program design and implementation for successful faculty-led programs.  Using Nepal as a case study, participants will examine the two interwoven topics: 

(1) understanding the experiential learning cycle, effective curriculum integration, and preparing students for experiential, field-based learning. 

(2) exploring how to ground these practices in a decolonial framework that informs all aspects of design, implementation, and leadership. 

Through first-hand experience, participants will examine the common elements of SIT’s field-based programs – e.g., guest lectures, organization and site visits, internships, homestays – and consider how these types of activities can operate to teach core content while also modeling decolonial, ethical, and reciprocal strategies in international education. The Field Seminar will offer concretized examples about how to best integrate these concepts into short-term, faculty-led programming. We will address onsite and online methodologies, as well as ethical and practical considerations regarding operating programs in the Covid-19 context.

Seminar Themes:

Grounding Faculty-led programs in Experiential Education Pedagogy and Decolonial Perspectives

  • Design Theory: Experiential Learning Pedagogy in Study Abroad 
    • Experiential education theory
    • Learning cycles as iterative process 
    • Individual and collective learning, reflection, and applications
  • Foundational Principles: Meaningfully grounding the frameworks of decoloniality, ethics, and reciprocity in all aspects of design, programming, and leading. 
    • Decolonial frameworks from the US and Nepali perspectives 
    • Ethical and reciprocal program design
    • Diversity, Privilege & Inclusion
      • Colleagues working together across contexts
      • The importance of reciprocity
      • Communicating to students the ethical and reciprocal actions of the program
      • Perspectives to inform how students learn and live in the local context
      • Developing an inclusive student Learning Community
        • Group agreements/norms, braver spaces, building trust relationships 
        • Conflict resolution and facilitating group dynamics
  • Praxis: The Experiential Learning Cycle in Action – using experiences in Nepal as a case study, with pre-activity discussions, debriefing, and “double-debriefing”
    • Preparing students for experiential learning abroad
      • What faculty leaders and schools can and should be doing to prepare students for their own experiences, the variation of experiences among their cohort, and the programmatic ethics that underpin program design
      • The role of orientation in modeling decolonial practices to students, getting their buy-in and making them collaborators in decolonial practices 
    • Ethical/reciprocal design with internships/service Learning
      • Learning Cycles
        • Choreographing the building blocks (classes, guest lectures, site visits & excursions, reflection and synthesis)
        • Balancing the schedule pacing, timing & flow
        • Incorporating Faculty Leader Class Time 
        • Debriefs, reflection, and discussion sessions (bringing it all together)
        • Preparation and navigating difficult program topics

At a Glance

Dates: June 6-14, 2022 (9 days/8 nights)  

Location: Nepal (Kathmandu, Namobuddha, and Dhulikhel)

Who should participate? Faculty and staff from a variety of academic disciplines interested in the seminar theme are encouraged to apply. Participants do not need to have a specific interest in Nepal, as the knowledge participants will gain from this seminar can be applied to faculty-led programs in other locations around the world. Faculty interested in partnering with SIT on a faculty-led program are particularly encouraged to apply.

How to Apply: Applications are now open here. To apply, please download and complete application and email a completed copy to facultyseminars@sit.edu.

Application Deadline: April 4, 2022

Learning Outcomes

During this program, you will:

  • Review Experiential Learning theories and principles
  • Practice curriculum and course design using theories, lectures, hand-on experiences and discussions to design and develop a robust experiential learning program
  • Learn to identify and integrate various pedagogical resources to give a holistic perspective of the thematic topics
  • Examine how frameworks of decoloniality can be incorporated in the experiential learning cycles
  • Use Nepal as a case study to ground the frameworks of decoloniality, ethics and reciprocity.

Seminar Activities

Site Visits / Organization visits and excursions may include

  • A Walk in History: A walk in the old Patan city (one of the three cities of Kathmandu valley) to see the world where traditions, architecture, religion, and urban planning meet. The walk also helps us imagine the contrast it gives to modernization. 
  • Excursion to Namobuddha: Namobuddha lies among the hills, east of Kathmandu. The area and villages in the area have religious and traditional significance. This excursion aims to provide a glimpse of traditional farming practices. The rural context provides a sharp comparison to Kathmandu’s urban system. 
  • Visit to Mitini Nepal: The mission of MN is to build a strong lesbian, bisexual and transgender network in Nepal, to advocate for LGBTI rights, and to build up skills at the grass roots level and conduct campaigns to defeat anti-LGBTI referenda and advance pro-LGBTI legislation.
  • Swayambhu: One of the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites, Swayambhu is also one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal. 

Lectures and discussions with experts and activists from the field

  • A context of current caste system and Dalit rights activism in Nepal to understand the social fabric of Nepali society and caste system.
  • Trans-identity in Nepal and the lived experiences.
  • Statelessness and its relation to the rights and identity of women in Nepal.
  • Where are all the young men?
Sample Schedule

June 6 (Monday)

  • Arrival in Kathmandu
  • Welcome dinner

June 7 (Tuesday)

  • Orientation
  • Explore the old Patan city and explore the spaces where social structures and city designs meet.
  • Design Theory: Experiential Learning Pedagogy in Study Abroad and the Experiential Learning Cycle

June 8 (Wednesday)

  • Language basics
  • Foundational Principles: Meaningfully grounding the frameworks of decoloniality, ethics, and reciprocity in all aspects of design, programming, and leading. 
  • Trans identity in Nepal and the lived experiences
  • Visit to Mitini Nepal 

June 9 (Thursday) 

  • Praxis: The Experiential Learning Cycle in Action – using experiences in Nepal as a case study; preparing students for experiential learning, pre-activity discussions, orientation strategies
  • Excursion brief and discussions
  • Travel to Namobuddha

June 10 (Friday)

  • Praxis: The Experiential Learning Cycle in Action – using experiences in Nepal as a case study; crafting learning cycles
  • Discussions on traditional farming practices
  • Explore Namobuddha and Dapcha town 

June 11 (Saturday)

  • Praxis: The Experiential Learning Cycle in Action – using experiences in Nepal as a case study, debriefing and “double-debriefing”
  • Double-Debrief discussion (imagining/comparing student perspectives and staff perspectives)
  • Return to Kathmandu

June 12 (Sunday)

  • Praxis: The Experiential Learning Cycle in Action – using experiences in Nepal as a case study, homestay preparations for staff and students
  • Orientation on homestay and cultural immersion. 
  • Statelessness and its relation to the rights and identity of women in Nepal
  • Dinner with homestay families and homestay

June 13 (Monday)

  • Visit to Swayambhu
  • Final reflection and debrief; consider future projects
  • Program evaluation
  • Farewell dinner

June 14 (Tuesday)

  • Departure
Seminar Faculty

Suman Pant, PhD

Academic Director

Suman Pant, PhD

Suman received her doctorate in public policy from Oregon State University, where she has taught undergraduate political science courses and graduate level research methods. Her dissertation examined Nepal’s community forestry to understand how historical institutions and social construction impacts the effectiveness of devolved governance and collective action. Her research and work intersect development, resource management, and gender issues in Nepal. She has also worked with various nongovernment organizations that work for Nepal’s disadvantaged children and women. She has widely traveled in Nepal as a researcher and field practitioner.

Education
PhD, Oregon State University

Admissions Process & Eligibility

Eligibility and Admissions Criteria
This seminar is designed for active faculty from U.S. institutions of higher education. Admission decisions are based on the relevance of the seminar’s focus to the applicant’s areas of interest, academic background, research, and/or courses taught.

Preference may be given to applicants and/or schools with past experience on SIT’s programs or site visits. An applicant’s experience in the program location may be considered, but in-country experience is not essential.

How to Apply: Applications are now open here. To apply, please download and complete application and email a completed copy to facultyseminars@sit.edu.

Program Cost & Scholarships

The program fee for the Grounding Faculty-led programs in Experiential Education Pedagogy and Decolonial Perspectives seminar is $2,995 per participant. This fee includes: 

  • Accommodations in single rooms in tourist-class hotels 
  • Most meals, including a welcome dinner and farewell banquet 
  • Transportation for all program activities, including airport pick-up and send-off 
  • All program activities  
  • Health insurance for the duration of the program 
  • Pre-departure preparation materials, including informational materials, syllabus, and pre-program assignments 

The program fee does not include:

  • International airfare to/from Nepal
  • Passport and/or visa fees, if required (visas required for US citizens)
  • Immunizations, if needed
  • Personal expenses

A nonrefundable $400 deposit will be due within three weeks of notification of admission. Payment in full is due 30 days prior to the start of the program.

Scholarships
A limited number of scholarships are available for each seminar. Award decisions are based on financial need and other factors. To apply for a scholarship, please download and complete the Field Seminar Scholarship Application and email a completed copy to facultyseminars@sit.edu.