New lab reviews global ed strategy

Geneseo is evaluating and strengthening its engagement in global education with 10 other educational institutions across the nation in the 11th cohort of the American Council on Education Internationalization Laboratory. Each institution reviews its current internationalization programs, collects data and proposes a strategic plan to ACE after 16 to 20 months.

This differs from Geneseo’s Diversity Strategic Plan, according to Interim President Carol Long. While the Diversity Strategic Plan focuses on “the experience of diverse individuals and the way in which we accommodate, support [and] nurture a diverse world on our campus,” Long said, the Internationalization Laboratory looks at “strategic actions” in global education, such as international partnerships as well as student and faculty recruitments.

“There’s some overlap, but I do think that there are some elements that don’t show up in the Diversity Plan that will get attention, I think, in the Internationalization Lab,” she said.

Associate professor of communication Meredith Harrigan, Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Ron Herzman, Interim Provost David Gordon and Assistant Provost for International Programs Becky Lewis will lead Geneseo in investigating study abroad programs, student exchange programs, community relations and international service learning, among other areas, according to Long.

“It’s a very broad spectrum kind of look at what we do and how we can improve and become more global in our thinking and in our education,” she said.

The laboratory also provides an opportunity to evaluate where the college stands with curriculum development, Lewis said, looking at how much students are “learning about the global patterns and connections in the world through the curriculum offerings in different departments.”

As Harrigan pointed out, the amount of internationalization in courses can vary.

Harrigan, for example, is collaborating with associate professor of communication Joe Bulsys to bring together Geneseo students with Lithuanian students, where he is pursuing a Fulbright in spring 2014, via technology. Traditional courses can also be adjusted so that the content focuses on international or global issues, she said.

Administrators, faculty, students and community members will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on internationalization at Geneseo, both in formal and informal ways. Individuals can volunteer on subcommittees and participate in surveys or discussions.

When ACE’s Senior Associate for Internationalization Barbara Hill visits campus on Oct. 22 and 23, she will meet with the provost, president and leadership council and its team members. Lewis said she also hopes that Hill meets with department chairs and especially students, so that they can give input.

“That’s the whole point: that we provide students with what they want and also what they need,” Lewis said.

The leadership council and its team will collect data through the fall semester and analyze it in spring 2014. The goal is to complete a draft of the report in summer 2014 before a final report is due to ACE in fall 2014.

The cohort was selected based on interest and an interview with Hill, in which she assessed senior leadership commitment, pre-existing faculty advisory committees and how internationalization is specified in the institution’s strategic plan. Roughly 50 percent of this year’s applicants were accepted.

The other institutions include Clemson University (S.C.), California State University-Dominguez Hills, Emerson College (Mass.), Leeward, Windward and Hawaii Community Colleges (Hawaii), Lewis University (Ill.), Orange Coast College (Calif.), Sacred Heart University (Conn.), University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Western Washington University.

All of the institutions will convene at the second ACE Internationalization Laboratory meeting on Feb. 14, 2014.