By Peter Gerlach on Wednesday, April 2020
Dr. Peter Gerlach is Summer Institute Coordinator at the International Writing Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor of International Studies at the University of Iowa. He received his BA and MA degrees in English from Ripon College and the University of Northern Colorado, respectively. After serving in the US Peace Corps in Mongolia, he earned a PhD in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University. Since 2004, he has taught a wide variety of courses in English, Education, and interdisciplinary departments. Dr. Gerlach’s work as an international educator and his dissertation, current teaching, and research interests focus on the merits and limits of global citizenship, the need for understanding and empathy across cultures, the internationalization of higher education, and the lived experiences of university students, refugees, and immigrants in a globalized world.
In his talk, Dr. Gerlach describes how his new course, Community Engaged Learning with Refugees and Immigrants in Iowa, fosters students’ international education and benefits a local non-profit through service. The talk focuses on how the course was designed; the relationship between the class and community partner, the Refugee and Immigrant Association; and how the course was adapted midway through the semester to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Lessons learned and broader implications for teaching and learning are also shared.