For several successive years a research team with the Comparative and International Education Course Archive Project (CIECAP), hosted by Loyola University Chicago as a service to the field, has organized a symposium at the CIES annual meeting to focus on key issues and considerations involved in developing the introductory comparative education course. Each year the symposium topic is altered somewhat to reflect the variegated ways that universities have structured this gateway course. The symposium this year focuses on the introductory course at two midwestern universities. The symposium will begin with an overview of the CIECAP project: an on-line database and analysis of salient features of the introductory course in comparative education as taught at institutions around the world. The symposium will then move to examine the introductory course at the two Midwestern universities. Working from the view that analysis of course syllabi yields important insight into the ways in which the field is being conceptualized, faculty from the two universities will be invited to share their syllabi and to field questions from the research team. Attention will be paid to processes through which unit topics (including geographical / regional interests) and readings were selected, with special reference to social, political, economic and cultural contexts bearing on comparative and international education.