Scotland students visit HHP, biology departments

May 5, 2016
Scotland students
Scotland Students

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Twenty students and two faculty members from the University of the West of Scotland came to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on a faculty-led study abroad trip from April 9-16. Ten students visited the Department of Health and Human Performance while the other 10 visited the Department of Biology.

The partnership is one of the newer relationships between UW-Platteville and UWS, and comes with a win-win agreement. “We like to look for partnerships where students from both schools will benefit,” said Donna Anderson, director of Education Abroad. “We were very excited to have the students from UWS here at UW-Platteville.”

While visiting HHP, UWS students attended classes, several different athletic practices, took tours of local attractions, visited Building Better Athletes, LLC in Dubuque, Iowa, and even presented in a lecture. “We gave the students a smorgasbord of all the things they could do and they really took advantage of it,” said Dr. Colleen McCabe, professor and department chair of HHP. “Initially, I kept worrying that it wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted to make sure the students had a good experience here, and I think they did.”

In biology, the students’ activities ranged from horseback riding to attending different biology classes and fossil hunting in limestone piles throughout the area. “Giving them all these options was really a great thing,” said Dr. Kris Wright, professor and department chair of biology. “Biology couldn’t have done it without Dr. Becky Doyle-Morin and Dr. Ryan Haasl, they planned our portion of the itinerary and activities. The variety provided in the schedule gave our visitors the flexibility where if they wanted down time they could have it, but if they didn’t they could take advantage of the opportunities there. I think that was very helpful and they had a great time.”

The UWS students weren’t the only ones benefitting from the experience, as McCabe says the UW-Platteville students were also given the opportunity of a lifetime. “Before the UWS students arrived, I spoke with many of our HHP majors in the courses that were going to be hosting the Scotland students and reminded our students that this was an important opportunity in their life that they can take advantage of,” she said. “Whether the visiting students speak our language easily or not, if our students have that opportunity take it and talk to them about things. Our students start to understand that the Scotland students are doing something that some of our students are afraid to do, so I think having them here and giving them that visual, or perhaps wake-up call, that allows them to see that these students are the same type of students that they are was nice. It was almost like a challenge to our students, I like the opportunity to push them out of their comfort zone.”

Wright’s students also gained valuable experiences to take with them throughout the rest of their time at UW-Platteville. “I think seeing that students from somewhere else are basically just like our students was a really important thing,” said Wright. “During the discussions that I saw at our first dinner about how the different programs operate, I think there was some real fascination expressed by both the Scotland and UW-Platteville students. One thing discussed was how the Scotland government pays for their students’ schooling, so they may not have as many choices of what classes to take or the facilities they use, whereas our students are the exact opposite. They’re having to pay for their education but they may be getting a better and bigger variety of resources.”

This was a novel experience for both McCabe and Wright, but both believe the opportunity was one not to miss. “It was all learning by doing,” said McCabe. “We ask our students to step out of their comfort zone all the time, so it was time for me to step out of mine,” she said. “Matt Rogatski, Scott Ringgenberg and Delores Trumpy were all great in my department in being part of the experience, and I think we learned a lot about biology, too actually, and sometimes I think we could be more collaborative from major to major on what we do and share.”

“It was a fair amount of work,” said Wright. “But you can’t put a price on this kind of experience.”

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities, and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The partnership with the University of the West of Scotland aligns with the priorities of providing an outstanding education and fostering a community of achievement and respect.

Written by: Carly Willman, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, willmanc@uwplatt.edu

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