International study required for U-M art & design students Cross-cultural engagement fosters broader perspective, creative insights

February 10, 2009
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ANN ARBOR—Going global is now part of the curriculum.

The University of Michigan School of Art & Design will require students admitted beginning fall 2010 to participate in at least one international study experience. Currently, about half of the 500 undergraduate students in the school study abroad. The school is the only unit at U-M to mandate study in another country.

“This new requirement is a significant precedent and shows how the University of Michigan is continuing to strengthen its programs in order to prepare students for successful careers and lives,” said Mark Tessler, vice provost for international affairs and director of the International Institute.

Most students are expected to complete the international study requirement during their junior academic year. The requirement may be completed through a variety of formal international study opportunities, service projects, internships and faculty-led ventures. A similar requirement is already in effect for School of Art & Design graduate students.

“One of the best ways our students will learn about home is by getting away from home,” said Joe Trumpey, associate professor and director of International Engagement at U-M School of Art & Design. “International study engenders self-confidence, independence, resourcefulness, flexibility, innovative problem solving, empathy, increased academic discipline and more.”

U-M School of Art & Design has partnerships with 22 cultural institutions and programs worldwide. In addition, the University has more than 100 study abroad programs.

“Financial aid will increase to meet the increased educational costs for travel and study internationally,” said Mary Schmidt, associate dean for undergraduate education at U-M School of Art & Design.

“Our focus will be to place students in programs tailored to their interests,” she said. “In the age of globalism, a world-class education must integrate an international experience into the traditional coursework. It’s a way of connecting what’s learned in the classroom to the realities of the 21st-century world.”