DIS Faculty Member Honored for Excellence in Curriculum Design

The Forum on Education Abroad recently honored DIS faculty member and Program Director Maja Sbahi Biehl with the award of ‘Excellence in Education Abroad Curriculum Design,’ specifically for her curriculum of the DIS core course, Children in a Multicultural Context.

DIS DIS Copenhagen Semester

The award is the only one in the education abroad field that recognizes an individual’s excellence in a study abroad course design.

The Forum applauded Maja on her “outstanding development and implementation of innovative and effective education abroad curricula.” Selection committee chair, Wendy Lombardo, and Forum President and CEO, Brian Whalen, explained that Maja was selected because of the way she is able to keep her course relevant to current global events, such as the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and the creative teaching techniques she implements in the classroom.

Maja’s Children in a Multicultural Context course examines multiculturalism in Danish education through teaching practices, intercultural communication, and the influence of culture on education and child development. During the course-integrated, Week-Long Study Tour, students travels to Istanbul, Turkey for one week to visit with public schools, childcare centers, and education facilities. When in Copenhagen, students also take part in a Corequisite Course Practicum throughout the semester, where they assist in a Danish classroom every week.

Maja attributes the award to the way she integrates a multicultural perspective into her classes, saying, “To be recognized for my course was such an honor. I think what makes my course special is the fact that it is international. When American students come to Denmark to study abroad, many of them come with the expectation of a comparison between the two cultures – Danish and American. However, in my course, I bring in even more varying perspectives, for example by traveling with my students to Istanbul, Turkey to broaden their horizons even further. In the globalizing world we live in, I feel it is imperative for my students to gather as much cultural awareness from the different cultures they are exposed to.”

Maja hopes to continue to develop and challenge her students to be reflective global citizens for semesters to come.

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