Description of the following video:
[Video: A still image of Karla Stouse sitting at a desk in a library with a book of maps in front of her]
[Words appear: #Herstory Karla Stouse: A Travel Innovator]
Karla speaks: So, we took a literature class to Mexico. And we sampled the food, we did some of the dancing, and went to a cultural event at Xcaret.
[Video: Stouse appears in live video and continues to speak: And then our students also got to snorkel. It was the first time for most of them to be in the water, and they had a great time.
[Words appear: Karla Stouse, Senior Lecturer in English and Humanities - IU Kokomo]
Karla speaks: We went to an eco-park there called Xel-Ha. And students got a chance to see something that was absolutely not Indiana. And I knew we were on to something really good when we were walking to our hotel and a student who had never been out of Indiana turned to me and he said, "Karla, is that the ocean?" And he had never seen anything like that before. And so, I was hooked and so was he.
[Video: Karla Stouse is sitting at a desk in a classroom with students, holding a discussion]
Karla speaks in voiceover: I wanted to do more than culture. I wanted the students to have an opportunity to do some service learning, and so they would have an impact when they came back.
Karla speaks on-camera: And they would travel with a different focus. It's nice for students to go and learn about culture.
[Video: Image of IU Kokomo students in front of Big Ben in London, England, and an image of students in front of the ocean appears]
Karla speaks in voiceover: But I wanted that application piece. So, honestly, it was a little selfish. It was really, for me, to help me fulfill a teaching goal. And it turned out really well for all of us.
[Video: Image of a student reading a book in a window nook and then an image of IU Kokomo students leaping into the air in front of Buckingham Palace]
Karla speaks in voiceover: Teaching is about fostering curiosity and then giving the students the opportunity and encouraging them to discover. And that is exactly what the innovation symposium is.
Karla speaks on-camera: We had that one more piece where they get a chance to make an impact in the local community.
[Video: Image of IU Kokomo students standing in front of Buckingham Palace]
Karla speaks in voiceover: That's one of the requirements. So, to me, there is no better teaching than that.
Karla speaks on-camera: It is absolutely enriching for all of us to think that we have something we can pass on and make the world a better place. While we were there, we spent a lot of time saying, "We're going to save the world today. You know, we are here to save the world. How are we going to do that?" And it does give them responsibility for the world in which they live. Isn't that what education is supposed to do?
[Screen fades to black]
[Words appear: INDIANA UNIVERSITY KOKOMO]
[Words appear: Fulfilling the promise]
[Words appear: iuk.edu]
[END OF TRANSCRIPT]
Karla Stouse was one of the pioneers of overseas travel at Indiana University Kokomo. Now, as she plans what will be her final Innovation Symposium service learning excursion to England in 2020, she reflects on why these experiences are so important for her students.
"Teaching is about fostering curiosity, and then giving students the chance to discover and encouraging them to discover," said Stouse, a senior lecturer in English and humanities at IU Kokomo. "That's exactly what the Innovation Symposium is. To me, there is no better teaching than that. It gives them responsibility for the world in which we live.
"Isn't that what education is supposed to do? They have time to think about what they would like to do to make their own impact in the world."
After leading literature- and culture-based trips to Mexico, England and Ireland, Stouse debuted the Innovation Symposium in 2008 to add a service-learning component to travel. Students apply and are selected for one of 10 slots on three-week trips. It's more than just a sightseeing tour; each student creates a final project to solve a global issue on a local level, using information they gathered from meeting with philanthropists and from studying the environment and technology.
"We go to places where they see innovation in action," such as the Eden Project in which a china clay pit was transformed into "a magical garden fun land of environmental awareness," she said. Another point of interest is the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum, which commemorates the discoverer of penicillin.
"Our students get to go see the landmarks, but they also meet the people and work with them," Stouse said. "They sit and eat among the people, they have conversations with them, they get to see how the world views Americans. They try that food they aren't sure what it is. That's my favorite part, to see students step beyond their comfort zones and try a new thing."
Stouse led her first overseas trip to Mexico in 2003. She knew she was on to something the very first day of that trip.
"We were arriving at our hotel and a student, who had never been out of Indiana, turned to me and said, 'Karla, is that the ocean?'" she said. "That is why we take students abroad. It is the most transformative learning I have seen."
It also makes a difference in the students' overall perspective on life.
"Students who go on international trips come back with more confidence, and that leads them to all kinds of campus opportunities," she said. "There's a direct impact. Many students have translated that impact into their jobs, the campus and local community activities. It just keeps snowballing. It's wonderful to be part of that ride."
The 2020 Innovation Symposium was selected to be a part of IU's Grand Expedition -- a series of trips recognizing IU's pioneering and continued leadership in overseas study for the university's bicentennial celebration. The trip will focus on environmental global issues and be open to students from all IU campuses.
As she prepares to hand over the Innovation Symposium to new leadership within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences this year, she hopes her work inspires other faculty to plan similar overseas trips. Her dream is for every IU Kokomo school and department to have its own version, and that at least 10 percent of students on the campus will travel each year.
"It's a huge goal," she said. "It would transform the campus tremendously. You get to do an experiential activity and you get to learn by doing. I believe it is something that will make us truly distinctive as a campus. For the personal benefit for everyone who gets to go, there's nothing better. It would be the best gift I could leave the university."
Seeing the program evolve demonstrates one of the important parts of project planning she has emphasized to her students.
"One of the things we've talked about when students are building their projects is, the only way it can have long-term success is when the owner can come to someone else and say, 'Take over my baby,'" Stouse said. "If you don't pass it on, it won't last any longer than your own interest or you own lifetime. You have to build it so someone can take it forward."