Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages Program (UISFL)
The International and Foreign Language program at the US Department of Education has awarded MSU Billings funding for a three-year program for Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages (UISFL). Together with our consortial partner, Northwest College (NWC) in Powell, Wyoming, MSUB will lead a series of important actions to further develop international studies at both institutions and in Montana and northern Wyoming.
Montana and Wyoming have strong historic ties to all world regions -- the European and Asian settlers in Montana in the 19th and 20th centuries joined twelve American Indian tribes, now occupying seven reservations. This legacy of “internationalness” has largely been forgotten in the post-WWII era, but today, as Montana seeks to develop new ties to the world students from MSUB and consortial partner NWC require global knowledge, skills and know-how to join the international marketplace of commerce, science, and ideas. Students wishing to increase their global skills at MSUB often enroll in Study Abroad or study Spanish language and culture. These programs are supported by dedicated professionals and attract a small number of students. This new project, funded by the UISFL grant, aims to increase the role and significance of Global Studies across all areas of campus partners, in Montana and Wyoming.
The Office of International Studies at Montana State University Billings has been awarded a major three-year Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) grant from the International and Foreign Language Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.
This will further internationalize the university by developing new Study Abroad programs in East Asia, creating a new Global Studies Certificate Program, and developing faculty expertise in international studies.
MSUB is one of only 32 U.S. universities to receive such funding, and is the only university in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota to be funded, further promoting MSUB as the regional center of excellence for international studies. Importantly, Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, a long-time recognized leader in international studies in the region, is the key partner in this grant. Both universities will develop programs to support their students and faculty.
The objectives of the project are to strengthen and improve undergraduate instruction in international studies and foreign languages at both institutions. Grant funds are being used to revise and update curricula, develop faculty expertise and add language instruction at both institutions. Some funds support student study abroad in East Asia. The MSU Billings UISFL project is greatly enhancing faculty expertise in international studies, with an emphasis on East Asia, in Montana and Wyoming. Over the course of the grant period, faculty will be receiving funds to revise curricula and to travel to partner universities. Over 6,000 undergraduate students in a largely under-represented area will have full access to the activities and outcomes of the project (Global Studies Certificate, International Studies Minor –East Asia Track, Study Abroad, language instruction), thereby increasing their career prospects, especially in relation to service in areas of national need.
MSUB and NWC are using grant funds to increase opportunities for undergraduate students to grow their global skills by: 1) accessing a new interdisciplinary Global Skills Certificate Program and International Studies Minor, focusing on East Asian studies and 2) increasing faculty expertise in Global Skills learning outcomes and East Asian studies in service of these programs. There are seven main objectives of this project: 1) increase faculty expertise in global studies, with priority given to East Asia; 2) create new and revise existing MSUB and NWC courses with focus on global studies; 3) develop and implement an interdisciplinary Global Studies Certificate Program; 4) increase participation in Study Abroad Programs in Korea, Japan, and China; 5) develop language programs in less commonly taught languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean); 6) develop a bi-annual Global Studies Seminar; and 7) form a Global Studies Advisory Committee.
Spring 2022 Highlights
Student Scholarship Highlights
MSUB was proud to award four UISFL Student Scholarships to MSUB students. One MSUB student who received a UISFL Scholarship is continuing her second semester abroad at Hallym University where she is studying Korean language and cultural studies. The three MSUB student scholar recipients slated to go to Japan are eagerly waiting for the border to reopen and are in the meantime studying Japanese language virtually through MSUB's partner university - Prefectual University of Kumamoto (PUK). Two of the students are also undergoing a full virtual Study Abroad with PUK.
Faculty Grant Highlights
The two MSUB faculty grant recipients - Jodi Lightner and Melanie Reaves - are busy making plans for their travel and research in Kumamoto, Japan. To hear from them about their progress and to learn how to submit a proposal for the 2022 grant session, contact Dr. Paul Foster.