Students today are truly living in a global community that has no borders (thanks in part to Google and Facebook!) and the interpersonal opportunities and challenges that they will face are unprecedented. As a risk taker who often faces each day with “what if” in mind and with the troubling knowledge that despite great efforts on the part of Valencia’s SAGE team, only 1% of our students traveled abroad in 2011-2012 (source: SAGE office) — I have grown increasingly concerned for Valencia students’ global awareness.
My concern quickly became a problem that I was determined to solve, and I began to ask myself: What if we brought the world to them instead of vice versa? What if our students were able to develop relationships with students from another country while sitting in our classrooms? Two thoughts kept coming to me: technology and our sister college, Koning Willem I College in the Netherlands. These thoughts were translated quickly into Skype and cross cultural projects – and thanks to the generosity of the Sue Luzadder Endowed Chair in Communications, they have become a reality for both campuses.
The Winter Park Campus is home to the Honors Jeffersonian Track, and the theme of that track is Global Citizenship. As a result of the endowed chair, all courses in the Honors Jeffersonian Track will have an internationalized component, either as an embedded unit, an assignment, or both. These courses aim to prepare students for working collaboratively with students from KWIC on cross cultural projects and a study abroad trip to KWIC in the spring of 2015.
The Sue Luzadder Endowed Chair in Communications provided an opportunity for me to visit the Netherlands this spring and work with faculty and staff from KWIC to identify global citizen learning outcomes for our courses. By the time students complete the Honors Jeffersonian Track–Global Citizenship Program, they should have an inter-disciplinary and holistic view of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of what it means to be a Global Citizen.
To read my annual report for the Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications for 2012-2013, please click here.