Expanding Professional Horizons through COIL

COIL faculty partners, once complete strangers, often become personal friends and professional champions

This was the case for Dr. Nicki Fraser, Assistant Teaching Professor and Assistant Chair of FIU's Department of Public Policy and Administration, and Dr. Sunita Singh Sengupta, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the University of Delhi. Together they built bridges across borders of time, space, and disciplines that led to transformative student learning and their own professional advancement.  

From strangers to partners, co-authors, and co-presenters

Nicki Fraser is always interested in what's new and innovative in education. After learning about COIL, she reached out to FIU COIL's Stephanie Doscher to find an international partner. Knowing Fraser's interdisciplinary mindset, Doscher introduced her to Sunita Singh Sengupta, former dean of the University of Delhi's Faculty of Management Studies. They hit it off immediately. With support from FIU COIL and the university's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), Fraser and Singh-Sengupta developed a COIL module, "Global Cities and the Transformation of Boundaries: Integrating 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' in a Coronavirus Environment." 

But Fraser and Singh Sengupta’s collaboration did not stop there. Both professors opened doors to each other's professional advancement. Singh Sengupta invited Fraser to co-chair the 2020 conference of the organization she founded, the Integration Spirituality and Organizational Leadership Foundation. Several of Fraser's students interned for the conference and Doscher presented at the event as well. Fraser invited Singh Sengupta to make more presentations with her at the 2020 IVEC and AAC&U Global Learning Conferences and the 2021 American Society for Public Administration Global Conference, and the scholars worked with their students to publish a paper in the International Journal of Business and Applied Social Science and a paper in the International Journal on Spirituality and Organizational Leadership.

COIL can be as rewarding and impactful for faculty as it is for students. Fraser credits her COIL-related research, conference presentations, and international teaching achievements with her recent professional advancements as a teaching scholar and departmental leader. Nicki is now paying it forward. She recently made a presentation about COIL's professional ripple effects to FIU's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and has recruited 15 potential COIL faculty from her department!

It’s incredible how one thing can start rippling and branching out and create so many other opportunities.

Dr. Nicki Fraser


  • Time: There was a 10 1/2 hour time difference between Delhi and Miami.
  • Technology: Since they couldn't use either institution's LMS, Fraser and Singh-Sengupta didn't know how to make COIL instructions accessible to all. 
  • Pre-COIL prep: Faculty needed to introduce and market COIL to hesitant students.
  • Different levels: Singh Sengupta had PhD/MBA students and Fraser had Bachelors/Dual Bachelors and Masters students.

Overcoming Challenges

  • Flexibility: Teachers modeled how to adjust to different time zones, contexts, and styles.
  • Third space: Instructions were housed in the free version of Canvas.
  • Certificates: Faculty gave students a certificate of completion to increase buy-in.
  • Synchronous teaching: Singh Sengupta and Fraser brought their classes together and co-taught synchronously to develop a sense of unity and parity.

Ripple Effects

  • Research: Students and professors experienced new scholarly opportunities.
  • Enthusiasm: COIL created a different energy in the course, making it more exciting and increasing faculty and student interest in more virtual exchange.
  • Relationships: Students asked for a longer COIL and continued their friendships afterward.
  • Promotion: The COIL and ensuing activities enhanced Fraser’s CV and made her a more attractive candidate for a new position. Singh Sengupta explored a position as Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence.