Pacific Promotes Global Learning Through New Interdisciplinary Program Funded by U.S. Department of Education
Pacific University undergraduates now have the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the world through the new Global Scholars Program. Starting with a first-year seminar and companion travel experience, participating students will complete a set of requirements focused on international and diverse perspectives, mastering a second language, studying or interning abroad, and finally integrating global learning into the senior capstone.
The program is funded by a nearly $200,000 grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education for a proposal created and advanced by Erica Andree, director of the Center for Languages and International Collaboration, and by Professor Jann Purdy, who teaches French and chairs the International Studies Department. The grant program is highly competitive, said Jo Isgrigg, director of Pacific’s Office of Scholarships and Sponsored Projects.
“We seek to educate students to become global leaders who think, care, and pursue justice in our world,” Andree and Purdy wrote in their grant application. “Students participating in the four-year Global Scholars pathway will take a deep, multidisciplinary dive into global learning across their core curriculum.”
The Global Scholars Program is part of a coordinated effort to broaden and diversify Pacific’s global learning initiatives, making them available to any student in any program. It launched this semester, though COVID-19 has altered some of the details, including changing the planned January trips to virtual experiences. But faculty members hope to conduct in-person travel programs next spring.
The program will include student cultural ambassadors, efforts to increase global learning courses throughout the university, global education and career counseling, and professional development. But the heart of the program is its first-year seminar and travel course.
The Global Scholars program launched with two first-year seminars: one focused on the history of information in England and the other on the art and religion of Bali. A third first-year seminar with a focus on the social and cultural history of politics, art, and science in renaissance Florence, Italy, is planned for 2021.
The program’s goal is to provide students of all backgrounds with equitable access to the benefits of global learning and study abroad.
“Intercultural competency and language proficiency are so important in our increasingly interconnected world, and within our richly diverse country,” Andree said. “Statistics show that nationally the majority of people who study abroad are white women. We’re excited by the potential of the Global Scholars Program to expand access to global learning for all students, including those who might not think that global learning is for them.”
(Photo: Bali ritual by Artem Beliaikin)