President Daniel H. Weiss wrote the following message for the introduction of the Fall 2009 issue of Lafayette Magazine:
As many of you are well aware, broadening the global dimension of our educational offerings is a major initiative of the College’s strategic plan that reflects our commitment to a curriculum that meets the needs of our students and graduates in a complex, rapidly changing world.
The value of a broad-based, liberal education as the best foundation for helping students build productive and rewarding lives has long been recognized and it endures today. We remain firmly dedicated to offering programs in which students learn to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to relate seemingly unconnected ideas. But we also are dedicated to providing an education that is valuable in its relevance, in which students cross disciplinary, cultural, and international boundaries to connect in meaningful and valuable ways with faculty, with each other, and with their world.
Indeed, connecting the classroom to the world outside our walls is at the core of the College’s mission. Students who experience immersion in international settings or work with multidisciplinary student-faculty teams to address challenges of global importance will have an edge in the marketplace after they graduate, either in advanced studies or employment. These experiences are increasingly valuable components in the development of students as citizens and leaders in an interconnected, globalized world.
Our vision for global education centers on expanding the geographical and cultural scope of our offerings, including especially the creation of more Lafayette-run study-abroad programs. Some of these will be semester-long programs taught by our own faculty. Others will be shorter January or summer programs designed to give students a global perspective in their area of study or to collaborate to solve problems. It also includes creating a Center for Global Studies to emphasize multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to global issues and to strengthen representation in selected area studies.
This issue of <i>Lafayette Magazine</i> outlines the College’s plans for expanding our study-abroad programs and highlights other global connections. I hope you will find these initiatives to be of interest.