Art students to connect with peers in Morocco and Dubai through virtual exchange

Stevens Initiative logo surrounded by faculty headshots


At a time when connection is so important, we’re providing an opportunity for students to participate in virtual exchange. We are excited to announce that two faculty from the School of Art + Design, Michelle Illuminato and Michelle Swinehart, have been selected to be part of the Second Cohort of the Stevens Initiative Connected Classrooms. The two will be connecting our CORE students, starting next fall, to students in Dubai and Morocco via our Ideation course. The partnership aims to create a meaningful connection for our students while bridging gaps in both distance and difference.

I’m excited about this new opportunity. I would have never imagined before the pandemic the great possibility to open the world to our students that virtual teaching allows. ~Michelle Illuminato

Stevens Initiative Connected Classrooms supports higher education institutions in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States to build their capacity and prepare faculty to implement meaningful virtual exchange experiences for students. Successful, proven models of virtual exchange are integrated into the institutions by linking classrooms in different countries and cultural settings.

This cohort includes 50 Faculty Scholars and 29 leadership team members from 15 universities in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. 1,500 students will participate in a virtual exchange between June 2021 and June 2023. Learn more. 

Paired Faculty Scholars will design and run a virtual exchange in their classrooms, integrating the exchange into existing class topics. While still being planned by Faculty Scholars, the virtual exchanges could focus on fashion and brand management, mathematics and music, and chemistry and urban development. Leadership Teams will support faculty scholars as they implement their virtual exchange programs and will guide the sustainable growth of virtual exchange at participating institutions. 

Both Faculty Scholars and Leadership Teams will participate in training and ongoing mentorship led by Greg Tuke with support from trainers Karim Ashour and Abdellah Ghazi. These institutions will be prepared to continue their virtual exchange programs and expand programming to even more classrooms following participation in Connected Classrooms.

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