Lafayette will enhance its global education offerings with a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
During the next three years, the College will develop international initiatives and enhance study programs in strategic areas of the globe, provide more students with opportunities to study abroad, and increase the number of faculty members taking part in study-abroad programs.
The initiative, the Strategic Global Partners Project, will include integrating international study more closely with the curriculum and student-faculty research projects.
At the project’s heart is the creation and enhancement of new and existing programs—from three weeks to one semester in duration—led by College faculty in locations of strategic importance to Lafayette’s educational mission. Teams of five or more faculty members will be invited to propose multi-disciplinary programs that focus on forming long-term relationships in the host countries and introduce students to a life of global citizenship through cultural engagement.
“These programs will serve as platforms for innovative, project-based educational experiences that will add a global dimension to students’ abilities to work in diverse teams,” said Wendy L. Hill, provost and dean of the faculty, who will serve as project director. Locations for proposed programs will be sought in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Central and South America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe (including Russia), and the Middle East. The programs will include a language component as appropriate.
The College will create more international opportunities for students who typically are underrepresented in study abroad, including minority students, students with highly structured curricula (e.g., those majoring in engineering and the sciences), and those receiving financial aid. It also will implement professional development opportunities for faculty and seek to reduce obstacles that limit some faculty members’ participation in developing and sustaining study-abroad programs.
Each year, approximately 450 Lafayette students participate in short-term and semester-long study-abroad programs in about two dozen countries, increasingly in non-Western areas. More than half of Lafayette’s students participate in some study-abroad experience prior to graduation. In October 2011, Mikhail Gorbachev delivered a keynote address at Lafayette celebrating the creation of the College’s new Oechsle Center for Global Education. The Oechsle Center’s mission will be complemented by Grossman House, a residential facility for students who have a special interest in global topics, opening this fall.
“Lafayette is committed to study abroad as an essential element in creating an innovative, progressive, challenging, and distinctive curriculum,” Hill said. “This project will enable students to explore the global dimension of their educational experience more fully, integrate study abroad more effectively into their majors and minors, and deepen their understanding of global citizenship.”