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UNC-Chapel Hill launches initiative to connect Carolina classrooms with the world

Twelve faculty members were granted Collaborative Online International Learning Partnership Awards through Connecting Carolina Classrooms with the World. Each award recipient is working with a peer instructor at an international institution to create shared learning experiences for students in both countries.

A laptop with a graphic of a world map around it.

Twelve faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were granted Collaborative Online International Learning  Partnership Awards through a new initiative launched in May, Connecting Carolina Classrooms with the World, from the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs for the 2020-21 academic year. Each award recipient is working with a peer instructor at an international institution to create shared learning experiences for students in both countries (or, in one instance, three countries).

Students will work together for at least three weeks, examining course topics from cultural and societal perspectives. For example, Lien Truong, assistant professor in Carolina’s art and art history department, is offering an art course in Chapel Hill in which Carolina students will learn the material history and traditional Vietnamese silk painting techniques studied by their peers at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts. Truong’s course will culminate in a portrait exchange between the students, with silk portraits painted by VUFA students and oil or acrylic ones painted by their peers at Carolina.

The Carolina faculty represent several professional schools and College of Arts & Sciences departments, and they are partnering with colleagues at eight international institutions, including UNC-Chapel Hill strategic partners King’s College London and Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.

Each UNC-Chapel Hill faculty participant was awarded a $3,000 curriculum development award, and, when needed, an additional $1,500 for graduate student support for implementation of the first semester in which the course is taught.

Additionally, Sharon Cannon, clinical professor of management and corporate communication at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, also received a grant from the American Council on Education to support COIL activity in partnership with Sophia University in Japan.

“Students and faculty are using technology in powerful ways to ensure global learning continues even as international travel remains severely disrupted,” said Barbara J. Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer at UNC-Chapel Hill. “As we are all learning, global education, research, and collaboration can, with the help of technology, thrive even when we are physically at a distance.”

The initiative is organized by Katie Bowler Young, director of global relations for the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs, and Heather Ward, associate dean for study abroad and exchange. COIL Partnership Awards were offered for the 2020-21 pilot project in June, and future courses will be eligible for funding through Curriculum Development Awards for COIL administered by UNC Global Relations.