Connecticut College Nomination Essay Senator Paul Simon Award for Internationalizing the Campus

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1 Connecticut College Nomination Essay Senator Paul Simon Award for Internationalizing the Campus The most urgent issues of our time food, energy, world health, the environment, economic well-being are all global in scope. Thanks to the strong international programs at Connecticut College, our students graduate with exactly the skills they need to be successful in a global environment. Connecticut College has a long tradition of recognizing the importance of integrating international studies and study away into the academic and co-curricular life of the college. This is reflected in the college s mission statement: Connecticut College educates students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society. International study and research are top priorities at Connecticut College Study Abroad (International Programs) enable students to be globally directed A majority of Connecticut College students study abroad through the college s international programs. The college has offered successful international opportunities for almost 70 years and, thus, enjoys close affiliations with institutions all over the world. Currently, Connecticut College offers study abroad options with established programs in: Argentina Australia Austria Balkans Belize Bolivia Botswana Brazil Cameroon Chile China Czech Republic Cyprus Denmark Ecuador England Fiji France Germany Ghana Greece India Indonesia Ireland Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kenya Madagascar Mali Mexico Mongolia Morocco Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Northern Ireland Oman Panama Peru Scotland Senegal South Africa Spain Switzerland Tanzania Tibet/Bhutan Uganda Uganda/Rwanda Study Away/Teach Away (SATA) enhances students knowledge and appreciation of political, economic and social systems significantly different from their own In addition to a broad selection of study away programs offered by other institutions, Connecticut College offers its own Study Away/Teach Away (SATA) program, in which small groups of students and one or two faculty members spend a semester together at a host institution 1

2 in another country. Recent studies include ethnobotany and anthropology in Peru; and architecture, linguistics and history in Prague. Students on SATAs maintain a regular course load by taking classes offered by the Connecticut College professor(s) and faculty at the host institutions. In addition to the academic courses offered, SATA programs also include field trips designed to help students develop an appreciation for the history, culture and social customs of the country or region where they are studying. The format of the SATA programs enhances the opportunities for faculty to integrate more closely coursework on campus with students experiences abroad. SATAs also create a critical mass of students and faculty with a shared international experience, magnifying the impact on the campus culture when they return. The SATA program was created in 1999 to provide opportunities for students and faculty to study together in developing countries that didn t have established study abroad programs. Among the most successful and popular have been SATAs in India, Vietnam and South Africa. In Vietnam, for example, successive groups of students have worked with economics faculty researching the causes, pressures and results of large-scale migration from rural areas to Hanoi. Since the college s first SATA in Vietnam, Connecticut College professors and students have completed six more full-semester study programs in Hanoi, as well as four research trips. William Frasure, Connecticut College professor of government, also initiated a five-year faculty exchange and cooperation program between the two institutions, funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In the spring of 2008, William Frasure became the second American ever to earn an honorary doctoral degree from Vietnam National University. In all, 150 Connecticut College students have studied in Vietnam, 19 VNU faculty members and officials have visited Connecticut College and 14 Connecticut College faculty members have visited VNU as part of various programs. While the focus of the SATA program remains on emerging nations, some SATAs now take place in European locations where faculty have significant research interests. In all locations, however, the core of the program is the opportunity to study and experience the social, cultural, political and economic impact of globalization. SATA Seville, for example, has provided students with opportunities to observe the tension between European integration and the Basque separatist movement. SATA Prague has provided students with a close-up view of the Czech Republic s evolution from Cold War isolation to intellectual and cultural catalyst of the new Europe. Course-related travel enhances on-campus discussion The college also offers the Travel, Research and Immersion Program (TRIP), a one- to threeweek, faculty-led excursion to a location that complements the work of a specific course. TRIPs create transforming opportunities for faculty and students by providing immersion experiences at domestic and international sites in order to deepen the intellectual discussion upon return to classroom and campus. For a number of students, a course-related TRIP can be their first time 2

3 traveling outside of the United States, an experience that forever changes the way they see themselves and the world. Student-faculty research opportunities extend overseas Many Connecticut College professors are expanding their research boundaries with an international, cross-cultural or transnational focus. They not only involve students in their research, where possible, they also bring these perspectives into the classroom and challenge students to expand their world view. The College recently received a $1 million gift from an alumnus to fund enhanced opportunities for international faculty-student research. Of particular note are opportunities created by faculty for students in the sciences to experience the international nature of research in their disciplines. Bruce Branchini, Hans and Ella McCollum 21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry, and a leading expert in bioluminescence, has taken students to Bologna, Italy in to conduct bioluminescence research at the University of Bologna. Branchini also led a TRIP to Florence in Spring of 2001 with eight chemistry majors who were studying spectroscopy, and then in 2003 led a SATA to Florence to focus on the same research topic. Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts offers college s most comprehensive international program To help meet the challenge of an increasingly global society, Connecticut College launched the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts in The center offers the college s most comprehensive international program which promotes global thinking across academic disciplines and encourages students to become politically concerned, socially engaged and culturally sensitive. The special certificate-granting program is a highly selective and rigorous academic program that allows accepted students to internationalize any major with a combination of special coursework, an overseas internship, language study and a senior project. Most of the center s students also study abroad during their junior year, either for one semester or a full year. Fast approaching its 20 th anniversary, the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts has become a model for internationalization on campus. In addition to the Toor Cummings center, Connecticut College has three more interdisciplinary academic centers the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, the Goodwin-Niering Center for Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies and the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. Like the Toor Cummings Center, each of these certificate programs offers a combination of specialized coursework, an internship and a senior integrative project. Many students choose to focus their certificate work on a topic with international dimensions. For example, a Holleran Center student studied the feminization of AIDS in Africa, and a Goodwin-Niering Center student analyzed how renewable energy legislation in Germany has affected the wind energy industry there. Funded Internship Program puts liberal arts into action across the globe 3

4 Internships outside the United States have been a required part of the Toor Cummings Center certificate program since its inception. Now, an increasing number of students outside of this program are also doing internships overseas. At Connecticut College, internships extend the liberal arts education outside the classroom and into the world beyond. Every Connecticut College student has the opportunity to do a paid internship or summer research project the summer between junior and senior year. About 80 percent of students take advantage of this opportunity, and in 2008, 23 percent of those internships were outside of the U.S. Recent international internship destinations include an environmental institute in Belize, a family planning consortium in Ethiopia and a research site for mapping glaciers in New Zealand. International students encourage multicultural awareness on campus In addition to encouraging students to study internationally, Connecticut College actively recruits students from across the globe. Currently, nearly 100 international students are represented on the New London campus. These students facilitate cross cultural, political and social dialogue among the members of the Connecticut College and the local community. One student who had been homeschooled in a community near campus said recently, In my first year, one of my roommates was from India and the other from Pakistan. They taught me things I will never learn in a classroom like the lyrics of Dragostea din tei, how to wear a sari, how politics affect average citizens, and how Friends and Sex and the City have permeated all cultures. Knowlton Language House is a hub of internationalism on campus Knowlton Language House is a residential house on campus that offers students the opportunity to learn about and explore many different cultures and languages in a cooperative environment. The success of Knowlton House relies upon each resident s participation. Students are responsible for organizing cultural presentations throughout the academic year. The dining hall, which is open to the entire campus, is divided into language sections and offers students the chance to practice their language skills in an informal setting. Language Proficiency is a college focus Connecticut College has strong programs in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish. The college was one of the first liberal arts colleges in the country to offer a Chinese language major, and last year, added Arabic to its foreign language offerings. These programs focus increasingly on cultural and colloquial fluency in addition to more traditional literature studies. Many language classes are enhanced with technology; for example, students in introductory Russian are issued ipods containing cultural materials (such as popular music, folk songs, music videos and cartoons) and language exercises. This year, Connecticut College launched a Foreign Language Fellows program that provides leadership opportunities to 14 of the most advanced language students. Each fellow works closely with a foreign language department to coordinate academic and social programming that brings faculty and students together in informal settings that connect to an international concept. 4

5 Faculty bring internationalism into classrooms and coursework Connecticut College faculty understand the transforming power of encounters with diverse cultures. In addition to the numerous opportunities for faculty-led travel and research, the college s increasingly international faculty also bring their own experiences into the classroom and help infuse a cross-cultural perspective into curriculum, programs and campus culture. The college s course listing currently includes several team taught courses that are interdisciplinary and cross-cultural. For example a German professor teams with a history professor to teach Berlin, which examines the history, culture and architecture of the city of Berlin since the 18th century and includes an optional, extra credit language component. Looking to the future: International Commons International engagement is a vital aspect of Connecticut College s mission, and the current challenge is extending this essential perspective to all students. When the college s trustees, president, senior administrative staff and faculty leadership recently launched the Campaign for Connecticut College, internationalism was among the top priorities of the campaign. Already, with funding from national foundations, the faculty has been exploring ways to take Connecticut College s internationalism to even greater heights. The college envisions creating an International Commons to be a living and learning center that will integrate research, teaching and residential experiences related to global issues, study away and foreign languages and culture. To educate, from the Latin educere, means to lead out, out of the familiar and into a world of immense variety, a world of complex challenges that demand deep cross-cultural understanding. Connecticut College is a college of globally aware, globally directed students and faculty. Engagement in the world, a sense of purpose these values have defined Connecticut College from the beginning, and they will define us in continually news ways in the future. Contacts: Patricia M. Carey, Vice President for College Relations Deborah P. MacDonnell. Director of Public Relations

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