Field Director Laura Lewis interviewed for Internationalization in Action article

Published June 26, 2014

Laura Lewis

Laura Lewis.
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Congratulations to Laura Lewis, director of field education, who discussed our School’s involvement with the SUNY COIL Center (Center for Online International Learning) in the American Council on Education’s (ACE’s) most recent edition of their publication, Internationalization-in-Action.

Dr. Laura Lewis, Director of Field Education in the University at Buffalo’s (UB) School of Social Work, co-created a master’s level COIL course with a social work professor at the Pedagogical State University “Ion Creanga” in Chisinau, Moldova. Participants used Blackboard, Skype, and Adobe Connect to collaborate on assignments and exchange ideas, and delivered joint presentations via videoconferencing technology.

Dr. Lewis notes that she pursued the jointly-taught course because “I’m a big believer in multiple perspectives. We have a particular way of thinking about things in the Western world, and to see how the profession is practiced in another context, to see different interpretations of theory, helps students’ ability to think critically.” In her opinion, the course was a success; “I see how transformative the experience is,” she says, “and that it is not dissimilar from actually traveling.”

Building on her own COIL experience, Dr. Lewis now works with other faculty at UB to help them incorporate on-line, cross-cultural components into their courses. And, the Moldovan faculty member with whom Dr. Lewis initially partnered has since visited UB for an extended residency and now lends her global perspective to other courses on campus. Dr. Lewis observes, “students are choosing to come here because we have these options available.”