Doctoral candidate visits Southern, studies international mission

Duncan Hurd speaks to Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the school of technology, about Missouri Southern´s international mission. Hurd visited with various faculty members throughout the week.

Duncan Hurd speaks to Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the school of technology, about Missouri Southern´s international mission. Hurd visited with various faculty members throughout the week.

T.J. Gerlach

Internationalization has brought one graduate student to Missouri Southern, but he is not here to enroll.

Duncan Hurd, a doctoral candidate at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., came to Southern for research for his dissertation.

“I’m doing a study of three universities around the country that have been recognized as having successfully internationalized their institution,” Hurd said.

Hurd chose to use Southern in his study after researching lists made by NAFSA: the Association of International Educators and the American Council on Education. Hurd found institutions that have been recognized as being successfully internationalized.

Hurd said he looked for regional, public institutions that were not flagship schools. He found 10 possibilities.

“I simply picked up the phone and called the person at ACE in charge of their international projects,” Hurd said. “We narrowed the selection down to four universities, and I ultimately chose three.”

The other universities Hurd said he chose were a west-coast, urban university and a suburban southeast university. He said Southern is a relatively more rural institution and is the smallest of the three.

Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, said he met Hurd at a NAFSA conference in Baltimore in May 2004. Stebbins said Hurd expressed in interest in visiting Southern.

“This is a qualitative research study,” Hurd said.

“What that means is that I am here to interview a number of senior administrators around campus. What I’m doing with the study is I’m looking at the internationalization from the perspective of the change process.”

Stebbins said it is flattering being chosen for Hurd’s study.

“He told me when he was coming,” Stebbins said. “I set up interviews for him.”

Hurd’s interviews included the deans of the schools, department heads and some instructors.

“I tried to pick instrumental to developing the international mission,” Stebbins said.

He said he made sure Hurd spoke to the appropriate people. Stebbins said no one he asked declined to be interviewed.

Hurd said his visit was “wonderful.” When he was not in an interview, he said he wandered campus, taking photographs and talking informally with students.

Hurd said the major purpose of his study is to ultimately help other institutions internationalize, but also the study will determine if the basic values of the institutions have changed since they internationalized.

“The theory is that when a university goes from an original point where an international dimension is not important to them to another point where it’s very important, it really represents a transformational change for the institution,” Hurd said. “My own study is looking … at how do you go through the process.”

Hurd said his visits will be completed by March, and his dissertation will be written over the summer.

He said Southern is recognized as being a leader in bringing an international dimension to the campus.

“Every time we can spread the word about what we’ve accomplished here – it’s a good thing,” Stebbins said. “The more people find out what we’ve done here, the better.”