- John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies (2023)
Dedicated to enhancing the student-teaching experience for education majors, Laura Stachowski has vastly expanded the scale and quality of international and intercultural opportunities for teacher education candidates. Through her role as the faculty director and leader of the Global Gateway for Teachers program, Stachowski facilitates immersive experiences for students studying at Indiana University, universities across the United States, and around the globe.
As a former participant in IU’s Global Gateway program, Stachowski recognizes the value of participating in a cultural immersion program. Open to all education majors, the program provides students the opportunity to complete their student teaching abroad. Since Stachowski was appointed director of the program in 1994, she has more than tripled the number of placement countries offered through the program, many of which are non-Western and non-English-speaking. Prior to her directorship, placements were secured through a third-party provider. Currently, the IU program serves as the primary placement provider and provides student teach abroad opportunities to education majors across 30 U.S. institutions.
In addition to expanding the scope of the Global Gateway program at IU, Stachowski regularly mentors educational partners seeking to build meaningful international student teaching programs on their own campuses. She is also committed to building strong connections with existing host country collaborators. In June 2023, Stachowski will facilitate a trip to Belfast, Ireland for a group of rural Indiana elementary teachers to participate in peacebuilding and reconciliation experiences. In Spring 2022, she organized school and homestay placements in Bloomington for six German teaches from Universität Hamburg. Due largely to Stachowski’s efforts, the Global Gateway for Teachers program was recognized with NAFSA’s 2021 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award, the highest honor in study abroad programs, which affirmed the vital significance that future teachers (those often least represented in traditional study abroad programs), have meaningful school and community based international experiences that launch them on a trajectory of transformation.