Best Practices in Area Studies Educational Outreach
Introduction to Best Practices in Outreach to the K-12 Community by the National Resource Centers for Area Studies
Valerie McGinley Marshall
Educational outreach programming has been integral to the US Department of Education's Title VI National Resource Center program since the late 1970s. Since then every area studies center funded as a Title VI National Resource Center has been required to conduct outreach programming to K-12 educators. The definition of outreach has been expanded since the 1970s to include outreach to other post-secondary institutions, media, business, government agencies, and the general community. The following is a collection of ideals on how to "do" outreach to the K-12 community; of best practices in educational outreach programming.
One of the fundamental principals of conducting and sustaining high-quality outreach programming is the place of outreach in the mission and strategic plan of the Center. Outreach, and in particular educational outreach, should be inherently part of the mission of the area studies center. This is articulated primarily through the strategic plan of the center and defining the initiatives and activities to achieve the desired outcomes. Outreach to the K-12 educational community and specifically teacher training activities are absolute priority activities for every area studies center or consortia funded by the Title VI National Resource Center program. Therefore, in order to place a priority of these types of activities for university and faculty commitment, it is important to align this absolute priority with the operating principals of the Center. If this is not done, outreach becomes an add-on activity that is not taken seriously by the university or faculty and staff associated with the area studies center.
Outreach as a core operating principal of the center also means that there is a commitment to staffing. In truth, this is one of the leading problems concerning area studies outreach programs. A more complete listing of challenges facing area studies outreach was previously addressed in the paper by Friedlander, Marshall and Metzler at the conference on Global Challenges and U.S. Higher Education held at Duke University in January 2003, titled "Outreach: Current Challenges and Future Prospects" (http://www.jhfc.duke.edu/ducis/globalchallenges/research_papers.html). Among the list of challenges in this paper is the professionalization of outreach staffing. A full-time dedicated professional outreach staff member reflects a program's commitment to providing the necessary human resources to accomplish the goals of the center's outreach program. There should be at least one dedicated professional staff member per area studies center (or consortium) who is charged with the job of "outreach coordinator or director" as a full-time responsibility.
The full-time professional outreach person ideally is trained in area studies and education although a post-secondary degree or training in either field is often more than adequate. Teaching experience at the K-12 level is highly desirable. The outreach coordinator who is familiar with the realities of being in a classroom is often able to facilitate quality programming. Outreach professionals with classroom experience are familiar with the administrative structure of a school system and able to identify the key administrators in both district and school site with whom to work. Another advantage to hiring staff with previous teaching experience is their knowledge of curriculum design and lesson planning. A final characteristic is the ex-teacher's ability to relate to and communicate with the target audience – K-12 teachers. This is a key advantage due to the traditional tensions that are often felt between the K-12 teacher and the college professor. The outreach coordinator can facilitate the interaction that is necessary between these two parties when area studies centers conduct professional development for educators.
The outreach coordinator of the area studies center should not be without secondary support. This support can be clerical: answering phones, directing inquiries, assisting with mailing lists, etc. Ideally there should be technological support: an on-site technician with whom the outreach coordinator can work to expand the center's web resources for educators. And finally, it is very important to have both undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) students working with the outreach coordinator in some kind of capacity. Students who have an interest in education and area studies are especially helpful and enthusiastic. Advanced graduate students are excellent workshop presenters and guest speakers in schools and to community groups and often are willing to write lesson plans and curriculum materials with guidance on educational practice.
All area studies staff should be involved in the planning of and promotion of outreach programming activities. Leaving the "outreach work" to just one staff person marginalizes the importance of outreach to the core mission of the center. This sends the wrong message not only to the staff but to faculty and students who might perceive outreach programming as a secondary activity of the center, thereby reducing overall participation.
Finally, teacher advisory boards increase not only the effectiveness of programming but also the impact through the networking of the teacher-participants. K-12 educators can provide key input on the types of viable programming and they are particularly helpful in connecting the area studies centers with district offices involved in professional development and curriculum and instruction planning. Area studies centers can also employ teachers as consultants to present at workshops and to write curriculum materials. It is good policy and practice to have K-12 educators involved in some way with the workings of the area studies center.
Funding of the outreach programming of an area studies center is a topic that often stimulates discussion among outreach professionals. The following are suggestions for ideals to strive for, but in reality funding is one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining quality outreach programming. Many Title VI National Resource Centers utilize the funds from the US Department of Education to pay for a majority of the outreach programming. With reduced federal funding many centers will find the need to decrease the number of activities. Arguably this is not a solution and center administration should seek additional forms of funding either from the university or from other sources.
Some outreach programs have been successful in obtaining funding from granting agencies, non-profits and foundations. It is often key to have a development officer in the Center or at least one from the university's institutional advancement office who is dedicated to seeking funding for all international programs. Staffing to undertake proposed outreach activities should be sufficient since funds for operating costs are difficult to raise. Area studies centers around the country have been successful in garnering funding from such sources as state humanities councils, state departments of education, local funding agencies with educational missions, and governmental agencies at the national level such as the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Endowments provide a center with the most stable and sustaining funding mechanism. Outreach programs that contribute to the overall success of an area studies program should also benefit from any endowment funds a center might have. This is also an excellent way to demonstrate university or "hard-money" support for the outreach activities of a center to outside granting agencies such as the US Department of Education. Also, the center's service to the community, particularly to K-12 schools, will also assist in procuring additional funding from potential donors. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, education is the number one cause to which private donors and foundations give their support (Chronicle of Philanthropy, "Giving Slowly Rebounds," October 28, 2004, http://philanthropy.com/).
The key is to be creative in seeking funding sources for outreach. This often involves an investigation all possible sources at the university level, including student-centered outreach programs, extension services, schools and departments of education, continuing education, and departments within the university with a demonstrated interest in both area studies and education. When seeking funding from either internal (university-based) or external sources such as governmental agencies, non-profit organizations or foundations, it is often necessary to engage in collaborative relationships that further the mission and goals of the area studies outreach program.
Collaborations and Partnerships
Collaborative relationships, both financial and programmatic, are sometimes difficult to maintain but fruitful. These partnerships can involve the following relationships: within a university; with other universities; with institutions in the community; with local or state government agencies; with institutions in the community; or with professional organizations. An area studies center should be strategic and practical when choosing collaborative partners, being careful to enter into relationships that benefit both the area studies center and the partner.
Many universities have the advantages of having multiple area studies centers. This is probably the easiest partnership to be in since each center will most likely have similar outreach goals and understand how the others work in terms of financing and procedures. Other divisions of the university that might be possible partners include the student affairs office, extension services, schools of education, public administration, social work, etc., or the non-academic divisions of a university such as museums and performing arts centers.
Museums and non-profit institutions can be some of the easiest partners to work with and may have access to funding sources that a university may not. Area studies centers in a location with a diverse selection of cultural institutions should take advantage and foster relationships with these entities. Even for universities in smaller cities or suburban and rural areas there are often institutions or organizations with whom to foster collaborative programming. These institutions include art or cultural museums; performing arts institutions and organizations such as orchestras, chamber music groups, dance troupes or ethnic dance clubs; nature- or science-based institutions such as zoos, aquariums, insectariums, aviaries or wildlife reserves where exhibits tend to be geography-based and interdisciplinary; children's museums which almost universally sponsor at least one world- or global-based activity; community or professional organizations with an international focus such as world or global affairs councils, cooking clubs, service organizations; and professional organizations of outreach personnel from other types of local institutions. As with funding, creativity and strategy are fundamental in choosing partnerships.
State and local education departments seem like natural partners to work with on the goals of outreach for an area studies center. All school districts and state departments of education require and organize professional development for public school teachers at all levels (elementary, middle/junior high, and secondary) and in all subjects. The following are suggestions for working with these types of organizations.
• The area studies personnel should be ready to discuss, ahead of time, the definition of what area studies is and what it is not. Many educators do not separate the study of "foreign" in area studies from the study of immigrant communities in the United States. This is particularly the case in Latin American studies where there is often confusion in the use of terms like Latin American, Latino and Hispanic. Many Latin American studies centers do not include Latino studies as part of their mission and this is not very clear to educators. A successful strategy is to work with districts to provide professional development about where the immigrants in their community come from.
• Do not be dragged into the politics of a state or district school system. This is easier said than done, but education is currently in a political fight for its life: reduction of federal funding; increased oversight of performance; continuing racial and ethnic tensions; the crumbling infrastructure of both the physical plant and the human resources in the nation's schools; failing test scores; violence in schools, etc. Stories about all of these problems appear regularly in the local and national media. Area studies professionals have to find their way in this political quagmire and be ready to vehemently defend why they should be at the table, if and when they get there.
• Know the lingo of goals, benchmarks, standards, and No Child Left Behind legislation. Spend time aligning outreach goals and activities with the current guiding principles of the target audience. The area studies outreach professional should be intimately familiar with the standards which the local and state K-12 systems are following. With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, teachers must align their classroom content to the standards or benchmarks. An excellent introductory reference article to NCLB, "Educating for Success in the 21st Century: K-16 Partnerships in Global Education," appears on the US Department of Education's International Education Programs Service website. http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/iegps/k16-partnerships.html.
• Act the part of partner and teacher when working with state and local education agencies. Although it is sometimes necessary to provide accurate information that might contradict prevailing practices and beliefs, it is best not to act the part of the patriarchal university-type who is going to tell K-12 educators what to teach and how. Most university professionals, faculty, staff and administration are not familiar with the daily challenges of K-12 education, whether it be in the urban, suburban or rural school. Traditionally there has been quite a bit of condescension from the university community toward K-12 educators. It is time to leave that behind and work with the people who are educating the students coming to our universities and colleges.
• Invite K-12 administrators regularly onto your campus for conferences, meetings, social events, lectures, panel discussions, advisory boards, etc. Even if they don't come at first, keep trying. Introduce K-12 administrators to university faculty and administrators in the area studies center, different schools/colleges or central administration. The policy of involving K-12 administrators facilitates outreach work in the schools where they work.
Professional educator or educational organizations are the final category of possible collaborative partners. These organizations include social studies councils, associations of foreign language teachers, geography councils, organizations of music teachers, of English and language arts teachers, etc. These kinds of organizations exist at the state, regional and sometimes even local levels. Outreach professionals should examine which organizations best fit with the programming goals of the area studies center and strive to work with these organizations. Relationships often start with proposals for presentations and workshops at the annual meetings and can expand to larger projects involving summer teaching institutes, curriculum design and resource material development. For area studies centers, involvement in these organizations translates into exposure to teachers from distinct parts of a state or region and therefore a wider potential audience for dissemination. In some instances, it may also allow greater access to working with state departments of education which set the benchmarks and standards for each school district throughout the state, often with the input of these professional educator organizations.
Introduction to Outreach Services Offered
In general, most Title VI NRC area studies centers offer a similar set of services for their K-12 constituencies. This is not to say that every NRC has exactly the same programs and services. These include but are not limited to:
1. Professional development activities for K-12 teachers: the absolute priority activity of the Title VI National Resource Center grant;
2. Materials and resource development: development of teaching materials for use by K-12 teachers;
3. General outreach services:
- Consulting, advising and general information for teachers – providing information on general topics and resources pertaining to the world area of expertise;
- Electronic resources – having an informative website or portal to websites designed specifically for use by educators;
- Visitor speaker bureau – providing speakers when available to visit classrooms or teacher events; speakers can be students, faculty or staff;
- Resource libraries – having a library of materials for use by teachers;
- Simulation activities – such as Model United Nations.
In order to provide an adequate minimum of services, a center should be offering professional development activities which are required by the US Department of Education's Title VI National Resource Center program of all funded centers. In order to adequately serve the K-12 educator community, a center should offer a broad range of services and activities that include consulting or advising, speaker bureaus, curriculum development, and additional services specific to the university or center. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. When considering embarking on a new service or program, center staff should first do their homework regarding the activities of other area studies centers.
Center staff should conduct a series of studies and assessments before offering new outreach services or programs. These assessments should be considered at regular intervals regardless of the length of time a program has been in existence. The following list of assessments are not necessarily in order although some do need to occur before others.
• Identify your target audience: Who do you wish to target with the programming or services? What level – elementary school, middle school, high school? What subject areas? The identification of the target audience is very often linked to the expertise of the human resources associated with the area studies center (primarily staff and faculty) and also to the strengths of the university.
• Conduct a needs assessment of the target audience: What are the needs of the intended target audience? What kind of services and programs would best serve these needs? It is vital to have the input of a range of educators – from novice to experienced, elementary to secondary, and from different subjects or disciplines. In addition, seek the input of public, private and parochial teachers and administrators.
• Align the needs of the target audience with the mission and strengths of the area studies center: It is important that the area studies center be able to deliver the quality product whether it be a professional development program or a service for educators. This does not preclude sponsoring an activity in which the center might not have all the expertise. This why very often area studies centers enter into partnerships that increase the quality of an outreach program.
• Seek partnerships where appropriate: Partnerships are often the key to successful outreach programming. Appropriate partners can assist in delivering a higher-quality product or service and can also be key in delivering the target audience. When evaluating the compatibility of a potential partner, the area studies center should consider factors such as calendars and scheduling, financial management, and the ability of the staff to work together in a productive and collaborative manner.
• Conduct research and seek expert advice: Have other area studies centers produced similar outreach programming? Examine websites or ask questions via email, either on electronic listservs or by contacting outreach professionals directly. There is a wealth of academics, professional staff and educators who are willing to answer questions and provide resources. Outreach programming from center to center does not need to be completely original but it also holds true that programming at one center will not necessarily be easily recreated at another.
• Address district, state or national standards: Each state's department of education and school districts have adopted standards or benchmarks of educational attainment because of the federal government's Goals 2000: Educate America Act (1994) and No Child Left Behind Act (2002). Research should also include an examination of the standards and benchmarks that have been adopted in the state in which outreach programming will take place. In addition, each of the professional educator organizations has produced national goals and standards specific to the disciplines and subjects being taught in the United States.
Professional Development for Educators: Workshops and Institutes
Professional development for educators is an event in which the area studies center provides training to non-affiliate educators in the center's area of expertise, focusing on language training or content-based topics in the humanities, social sciences, performing arts, sciences, arts, or an interdisciplinary theme/topic. The event often includes pedagogical and methodological sessions in which the content material is modeled or there is a focus on specialized resources. The target audience of such events includes K-12 or post-secondary educators. These events can be from a couple of hours long to extended periods of weeks and can take place at the university, in the community, at a remote location or abroad.
Professional development programs should be carefully planned in order to adequately address the defined topic and to provide the skills and materials most needed and desired by the target audience of educators. The assessment of the needs of the target audience (discussed earlier) should guide the planning of the workshop or institute in both content and types of activities to be incorporated. This includes the selection of presenters from a variety of institutions and organizations.
The presenters at a professional development event should be experts and practitioners in the target content and the pedagogy and methodology of the target instructional level. One of the basic goals of professional development activities should be not only to introduce or further the content proficiency of educators but also to assist the teachers in integrating the content into classroom teaching. Content experts are the specialty product of area studies center, whereas the pedagogical experts are education faculty or experts and classroom teachers. Master teachers should be invited to serve as both presenters and facilitators since they serve as the best models for the target audience. The mixing of K-12 teachers and university faculty or graduate students also furthers the goal of creating a true workshop situation where all parties are quite possibly learning something new either about content or teaching methods.
Organizers should also plan to either incorporate or produce resource materials as an integral part of the professional development activity. The workshop or institute can be used as a vehicle through which to disseminate lesson plans, curriculum units or resource materials that have previously been developed and produced by the area studies center. Another method is to use the workshop or institute as a vehicle for the teacher-participants to produce materials, or a master teacher or team of teachers can be hired to work during and after the professional development program to produce the desired product. There is more on developing resources in the section on Materials and Resource Development (see below).
Finally, design an assessment tool that allows the area studies center staff to evaluate the professional development program. When planning a professional development program, the organizers should develop goals, outcomes and performance indicators. Evaluation tools should be developed that measure the desired outcomes but also include qualitative measures for the activity. Teacher-based evaluations allow the area studies center to collect data on the quality of the program and should be used as a planning tool for future events.
Study Abroad for Teachers
Many area studies centers sponsor overseas programs specifically for K-12 educators. These programs are extremely useful for teachers since many have had little or no international or study abroad experience (see Ann Imlah Schneider's study on "The State of Teacher Training for K-12 International Education" on the web at http://www.jhfc.duke.edu/ducis/globalchallenges/research_papers.html).
There are a variety of ways to organize and fund such programs. The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) program is an excellent funding source for post-secondary institutions that would like to take teachers abroad. More information on the Fulbright-Hays GPA program is available on the US Department of Education's International Programs Service website at http://www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsgpa/index.html. Before applying for a grant, center staff should review successful applications and speak with area studies center administrators who have previously organized and run a Group Project Abroad.
Some universities also organize traditional study abroad programs designed specifically for educators. This type of program carries credit equal to one or two courses in a content area and/or education. K-12 educators are now under increasing pressure to attend professional development activities and also to take courses due to No Child Left Behind legislation. Content courses can be helpful to teachers who are working to become "highly qualified teachers," which means that a teacher must demonstrate competence in each of the subject areas in which he or she teaches. New middle school and secondary school teachers can demonstrate this by completing coursework equivalent to an academic major. See the US Department of Education's No Child Left Behind website at http://www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml.
In general, do not simply modify a study abroad program originally designed for undergraduate students. Study abroad programs need to be designed for the target audience and the needs and goals of educators are much different from those of the average undergraduate student. In addition to the general guidelines for professional development activities, further suggestions include the following:
• The program should be as low-cost as possible or even subsidized by the university or with outside funding. Educators are not highly paid and many do not receive support from their districts to participate in these types of professional development programs. Also, if possible, consider offering scholarships for educators from low-income areas.
• Include activities that involve teachers and, if possible, students in the target country. Many US educators are eager to learn what educational institutions are like in other countries. In addition, these types of activities often lead to pen-pal relationships between US and target-country students.
• Consider designing programs that are two to three weeks in length. Many educators have families or other obligations during the summer months (some even have jobs). Although not an ideal length of time, it is often possible to complete the necessary contact hours required for university credit in two to three weeks.
• Prepare the teacher-participants for culture shock. Many teachers will laugh at the notion that they will experience culture shock especially if they are foreign-born or have studied abroad as undergraduate or graduate students. Very often adults have the most difficult time adapting to living, even for a short period of time, in a foreign country.
Workshops, institutes, and study abroad programs for K-12 educators are some of the most rewarding activities that an area studies center can engage in. The effort takes quite a bit of planning, fundraising, and staff time but often can have the most impact on classroom teaching.
Materials and Resource Development
Area studies centers can offer a range of diverse curriculum resources to their constituencies. When designing new outreach resource projects, staff should continue to assess target audiences, existing resources (both university-based and at other centers), consider collaborators, and very importantly, address the benchmarks and standards of the state curriculum. By connecting benchmarks to curriculum materials, a center is adding incentive to use that material and therefore increasing the potential of use by educators. Outreach staff might find it limiting to only address the curriculum benchmarks of their state, but if the content and skill objectives are named and described (rather than cited by number), it is highly likely that a teacher in another state can modify the material to fit the curriculum benchmarks of that state.
There is a range of activities that can facilitate the development of curriculum materials. One popular activity is the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad for a Curriculum Development Team, http://www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsgpa/. The grant is intended for a university to take a group of faculty, teachers or administrators to a foreign country for four to six weeks to acquire resource materials for curriculum development in a modern foreign language or area studies. There is quite a bit of flexibility in the types of resource materials that can be acquired. There is also a requirement that the project include a dissemination plan for use of the materials throughout the US. There are many challenges and rewards to applying for and conducting a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad. Interested parties should visit the website and contact past grantees for advice on proposal development and program planning.
Curriculum or resource development should be incorporated into professional development workshops or institutes held by the area studies center. Ideally the participants work in teams to produce a lesson plan but it is often advisable to hire a master teacher or a team of teachers to serve as curriculum writers. This can also be accomplished by graduate students who have experience writing curriculum or by the outreach coordinator or director. It is better to have groups of teachers or a master teacher as the primary writer(s) since they have the educational and professional experience to better assess the production of age-, level- and content-appropriate materials.
The development of resource materials to be produced by an area studies center is not limited to lesson plans or curriculum units. A wide variety of primary and secondary resources can be developed on the target topic. The Outreach World website (outreachworld.org) identifies nine categories of resources in its database: audio/visual, bibliography, curriculum, dictionary, lending library, maps, speakers bureau, student readings, web links directory. Even within that range there can be a variety of sub-categories of materials that are useful within the K-12 classroom and to K-12 educators. Since the curriculum within a public school system is very often prescribed, secondary resource materials that teachers can use within these predetermined lessons might be the most helpful. Again, it is recommended that a center consider conducting a needs assessment and seeking the input of teachers in the classroom when planning a resource development project.
Determining the content of potential resource development projects can be very challenging. Area studies staff should keep in mind that the international or global content in textbooks used in the K-12 classroom is often limited, out-dated, and sometimes inaccurate. Also, teachers do not have the time to preview textbooks and check for the accuracy of the content. Materials produced by area studies centers can be vital in providing accurate and current content but the center must have a plan to deliver those materials to the teachers in the classroom.
General Outreach Services
Some of the basic education outreach services provided by many of the Title VI National Resource Centers include consulting on content topics and resources, providing electronic resources, visitor speaker bureaus and resource libraries, and sponsoring simulation or model programming such as Model United Nations.
A basic service of every area studies outreach program is to provide general information on language and content topics. Educators will call or email seeking information or recommendations on reading material or videos to show in the classroom. Center faculty and staff can expect inquiries from teachers in the region or from across the continent. Although it is tempting to just have most of the information on your website, the human interaction will keep the teacher coming back for more and perhaps even draw the teacher into professional development activities sponsored by the center. The basic service of answering the phones and emails requires proper staffing and therefore reiterates the need for the full-time dedicated staff person – directors, associate and assistant directors have a variety of responsibilities and often do not have time to answer such communications. Graduate students are useful in this regard but the high turnover rate leads to lack of consistency in available information.
The fastest growing sector of outreach is through electronic resources – websites, online databases, blogs, etc. Although it is a basic tenet that each center and outreach program have an informational website, it is not necessary to recreate what might already be available on the web. One of the best articles on electronic outreach to the K-12 community appears on the US Department of Education's International Education Programs Service website, titled "Electronic Outreach: Cutting Edge of Title VI Outreach to the K-12 Community." Any area studies center considering developing online resources should consult this excellent article. http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/iegps/electronic-outreach.html
The visitor speaker bureau is one of the core services of the Title VI National Resource Center. Almost every Title VI-funded area studies center has some kind of speakers bureau service through which teachers can request speakers for their classrooms or for school-wide presentations. Centers considering developing or reviving a speakers bureau should consider guidelines for both the teachers and the presenters. Presenters can be faculty, visiting scholars, or graduate and undergraduate students. The outreach coordinator should provide the presenters with suggested presentation tips specifically for K-12 audiences. Not every area studies specialist is appropriate for every classroom. On the flip side, outreach coordinators also need to set guidelines for teachers such as preparing the students to ask questions or coordinating a hands-on activity with the presenter. The topic and/or speaker requested by the teacher should be a supplement to what the students are currently studying. The experience of having a visitor speaker from an area studies center can be rewarding for both the speaker and the students but it takes preparation to guide the experience to success.
Quite a few area studies centers have resource lending libraries specifically for educators. Each lending library has a variety of resources including but not limited to documentaries, feature films, slides, music, curriculum materials, culture kits, reference materials and books. Films or documentaries are usually on VHS or DVD. Lending policies vary widely. Some centers lend materials locally while others will ship nationally. Some resource libraries only lend to affiliated faculty, staff and students while others give priority to non-affiliated K-12 teachers. A resource lending library is an expensive investment, both in stocking it and in shipping the materials (if a center does so). Each program has to prioritize the desired target audience's use of the lending library in relation to the cost, both human and otherwise, of operating it.
Finally, some area studies centers sponsor simulation activities primarily for high school students as part of their outreach programming. These programs include Model United Nations, Model African Unity and Model Organization of American States. There are two main possibilities in sponsoring this type of activity: having a local university-based program or participating in the national program. Conducting this kind of activity involves quite a bit of planning and organization and the participation of area studies faculty, staff and students (graduate and undergraduate). Both K-12 teachers and students constitute the target audience of this kind of activity which increases the impact. A simulation program held locally at the university is much less expensive than sending students to New York or Washington, DC, but when students participate in the national programs they are exposed to the actual way in which these organizations work and are able to meet diplomats in person. Overall this is an extremely rewarding activity for all parties involved.
The educational outreach work of a Title VI National Resource Center should not be viewed as a burden but an opportunity. In order for this NRC function to be successful, educational outreach must be an integral part of the center's mission, have adequate staffing and be thoroughly planned. The rewards are difficult to measure but they include:
• Increased participation in improving the nation's K-12 schools;
• Furthering the reputation of the university within the K-12 community, thereby possibly leading to the recruitment of prepared K-12 students;
• Collecting data on the impact of Title VI National Resource Centers, thereby hopefully contributing to defending our continued federal funding; and
• Educating primary and secondary school children about the world outside of the United States.
As a final note, please consider that this has been a list of best practices. It is difficult for an area studies center to operate an educational outreach program following all of the guidelines elaborated throughout this paper. Please return regularly to the Outreach World website to read articles about exemplary area studies programs. Outreach World also has a contact list of all outreach professionals in the Title VI National Resource Centers – please consult with any one of them if you have a question regarding educational outreach.