In Focus: Prof. Gina Sherriff Visits Madrid for Study Abroad Conference

By David Westerman, PhD
Norwich University Office of Academic Research

July 7, 2015

Norwich University Assistant Professor of Spanish Gina Sherriff snapped this picture of Madrid’s Gran Via upscale shopping street during a trip to the Spanish capitol to participate in an international faculty development seminar. Hosted by the Council for International Educational Exchange, the seminar focused on the importance of study abroad in the development of cultural competence. Her travel was supported by the Norwich University International Center, a Bride Family Foundation Fellowship, and Chase International Travel Funds.

The seminar explored the effectiveness of study abroad programs on cultural awareness, as well as pedagogical best practices for faculty leading programs abroad. Prof. Sherriff learned ways to help students navigate intercultural communication, recognize their own stereotypes and expectations while abroad, and set realistic linguistic and cultural goals for the study abroad experience. She met with colleagues around the world to share ideas about promoting intercultural competence through travel and study. Finally, the seminar exposed Prof. Sherriff to the most recent advances in intercultural learning, including the use of the Intercultural Development Inventory as a tool for program assessment.

Prof. Sherriff plans to use the knowledge she acquired to develop and lead a program to Nicaragua through Norwich’s Maymester Global Classroom series to begin May 2016.

About the Author: David S. Westerman, PhD, is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Geology at Norwich University and the Associate Vice President for Research in the university’s Office of Academic Research.