Kachuyevski, Jones: Short-Term Field Studies Connect Policy and Theory

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 23, 2010

“Through short-term field studies, students are able to grasp sophisticated theoretical arguments and make the connection between theory and policy, enriching their understanding of the world in which they live,” argue Dr. Angela Kachuyevski, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Sandra Jones, Adjunct Professor of Political Science. Both teach in  Arcadia’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution master’s program.

Kachuyevski and Jones participated in a panel on “International Learning Opportunities for the Globally Aware Student” on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the International Studies Association conference. They presented a paper on “Bringing Theory to Life through Field Study: Teaching Minority Rights in Ukraine.”

“Study abroad is often seen as a way to bridge the theory of classroom learning and the outside world,” they write. “Students enrich their learning by opening their minds to new perspectives, yet often their experience is not reinforced by formal learning at the home institution. While not a substitute for longer in-country experiences, short field studies abroad, embedded in a regular course, are an excellent tool for bringing the concepts and theories studied in class to life.”

Kachuyevski and Jones presented an Arcadia course they developed on minority rights and ethnic conflict that included a one-week field study in Ukraine. “Through visits to international institutions and historic, strategic, and cultural sites, students see how theories of conflict management, violence prevention, and human and minority rights are reflected in policy,” they explained. “The classroom program supports and reinforces student learning by preparing them to critically analyze information they encounter in country. The in-country experience supports and reinforces the formal learning on campus by making the theories and historical readings more meaningful.”