Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vermont Professor of the Year

Champlain College professor honored as Vermont's best
Free Press Staff Report • Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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Del.icio.us Facebook Digg Reddit Newsvine Twitter FarkIt Type Size A A A A Champlain College faculty member has been named Vermont professor of the year on the strength of his work in Global Modules, an unusual international discussion forum that's part of the college's interdisciplinary core curriculum.

Gary Scudder, 50, assistant dean for global engagement, was among more than 300 professors nominated for the annual award issued by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Winners are named for each state and for the nation at large.

Scudder conceived of Global Modules, in which Champlain students exchange ideas with their counterparts at colleges overseas, about eight years ago. The discussions — via electronic bulletin-board postings — take place over four-week intervals around various themes in each of the Champlain students’ first three years. The third-year theme, for example, is human rights.

“We don’t do videoconferencing,” Scudder said in an e-mail, “because it is expensive and often doesn’t work ... and only a few people talk. Instead, we created a system where everyone is required to participate.” He described the discussion as an “asynchronous dialogue.”

“My dream was to embed these online discussions with international partners as part of the required curriculum,” he said, adding: “No one else does this.”

The list of international partners has grown to 17 countries, including Jordan, Russia and India.

“Gary is an outstanding professor,” Elizabeth Beaulieu, dean of the core division, said in a college news release. “He has an amazing gift, and our students are lucky to have him.”

President David Finney called the award “an extraordinary honor.”

“This is an important first for our college,” he said.

Scudder and other award winners were honored at a special luncheon in Washington, D.C., last month.

“They emphasize learning, not just teaching; inspiring, not just profession; and exploring, not just explaining,” said John Lippincott, president of CASE, in his ceremonial remarks. “In short, they are exceptional representatives of a noble profession.”

Honorees were selected, in part, based on criteria that considered their impact on students and their scholarly approach to teaching.

Scudder, in his 11th year at Champlain, said he was humbled by the award and the recognition “makes me want to work even harder for my students in the future.”

Previous Vermont winners have included John Elder, professor of English and environmental studies at Middlebury College (2008); David Mindich, professor of journalism at St. Michael’s College (2006); Sunhee Choi, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Middlebury (2005); and Susan Dinitz, lecturer in English at the University of Vermont (2004).
This story appeared on page B1 of Tuesday's Burlington Free Press


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The Global Modules project has recently received the Community Contribution Award from the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. This is a tremendous honor and one that we share with our international partners, without whom we would not have a program. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Gary Scudder

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Higher School of Economics

In March a team of Champlain professors - Dr. Betsy Beaulieu (the Dean of the Core Division, where the Global Modules are housed), Dr. Kerry Noonan, Dr. Jennifer Vincent, Dr. David Kite, and Dr. Gary Scudder (the Assistant Dean for Global Engagement) visited the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. In the space of less than a year the Higher School of Economics has grown to be one of our most important Global Module partners, and, in fact, we ran more GMs with HSE than any other school this semester. In addition to running a number of workshops for both faculty and students, the team also discussed ways that our two institutions can have even greater collaboration. The trip was amazing. In turn, two professors and five students from the Higher School of Economics visited Champlain in April. It's just this sort of increased face-to-face collaboration that we're hoping grow out of the Global Module experience.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spring 2010 Global Modules

We are in the planning stages for the upcoming semester's Global Modules - and it will be our biggest semester yet. Right now it looks like we'll have over four thousand students from at least fifteen different international universities participating. It's not too late to join in. Send me an email at scudder@champlain.edu and let's start planning.

Happy New Year!

Gary Scudder
Assistant Dean for Global Engagement
Champlain College

Bethlehem University

One of our newest - and most enthusiastic - partners is Bethlehem University. Our growing relationship with Bethlehem is mainly the result of Ms. Vera Baboun, an English Literature and Gender Studies lecturer there. Here's a link to a nice story on their university webpage about their Global Module experience, in which they discussed gender issues. We can't thank them enough for their participation - students from both sides learned a lot.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Child Labor GM

The following is a Global Module constructed by Cyndi Brandenburg from Champlain and Nandita Abraham and Rekha Dar from Pearl Academy in India. It deals with the issue of child labor and fits in very nicely with Champlain's new third year human rights course.

Child Labor Issues

Week 1

Let’s take the opportunity to get to know each other. You’ll find three folders in the Week 1 area, one called Introductions, one called Perceptions, and one called Questions.

During a normal week, unless otherwise directed, always remember to post at least two times.

We’ll begin our reading and discussing next week. With this in mind, we want you to do a few things this first week.

1. Post an introduction in the Introduction folder. What are your interests? Do you have experience travelling overseas? What do you hope to learn in the Global Module? Also, take the opportunity to greet your fellow students and find out more about them. Be sure to include contact information such as your email address or IM.
2. What are your perceptions of your partners in the Global Module? For the _____ students, what do you think of the US? For the American students, what do you think of when you think of _____? Post your initial views in the Perceptions folder.
3. Post any questions that you might have in the Questions folder. Some of you are probably quite experienced in working online, and might have even participated in Global Modules before, and could help out your classmates if they have any concerns.

Keep in mind that you should always feel free to contribute to the Casual Conversations folders found elsewhere on the site. Feel free to introduce a topic or post questions. The password for the Casual Conversations folder is: beaver.

Thanks, and we’re really looking forward to getting started.

Week 2

This week we begin our discussion of child labor issues. We will be using a selection of short texts, photographs, and view a short film. The first is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially articles 31 and 32 (http://www.hrweb.org/legal/child.html); the second is an article entitled “World Day Against Child Labor Marks the Need to Tackle the Worst Forms of Exploitation (http://www.unicef.org/media/media_49972.html); the third is the United Nations Global Compact Brochure (http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/news_events/8.1/GC_brochure_FINAL.pdf , the fourth is a series of photos with original captions taken by Lewis Hines in the United States in the early 1900s, and a short film (http://planyouth.org/episode/seeds-of-sorrow). Finally, you will find a few short case studies below.

Lakshmi’s Story –

“I am nine years old and I work as a beedi. (This means I roll cigarettes). I live in Tamil Nadu. Can you find it on a map? I have a sister. My sister is ten years old. Every morning at seven o’clock she goes to the bonded labour man and she does not come home until nine o’clock at night. He treats her badly. He hits her if he thinks she is working too slowly or if she is talking to any of the other children; he yells at her if she is sick and cannot go to work. I don’t care about school or playing or that I have to work. All I want is to bring my sister home from this man. I could do that for 600 rupees but I not have 600 rupees and I never will. (600 rupees is about £10).”

Yeramma’s Story (aged 11)

“I used to go to a government school but I had to leave because my sister got ill. We took her to hospital but the doctor said we had to pay more money so my parents bonded me for 1700 rupees (about £30). I was about seven then. I worked unwinding the silk cocoons. I didn’t like it but my parents made me go. They said I couldn’t go to school; I had to work. At work I had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning. I only was allowed home once a week. The rest of the time I lived at the factory. I slept with two or three other children in the factory between the machines. The owner provided rice for our food but he took it out of our wages. We had to cook the rice ourselves. We worked twelve hours a day with one hour’s rest. If I made a mistake, I would be beaten. Children do not only work in factories. Girls also have to undertake domestic work.”

Jasmina’s Story

“Seven days a week, 8 year old Jasmina has to get up before dawn to fetch water for the household where she has been working as a maid for over a year now. That is the start of her working day. She will work, washing, sweeping and anything else required until about 11 o’clock at night when she lies down on the hard bathroom floor and sleeps. She is tired much of the time but her employers hit her if she is not working hard enough or if she makes a mistake. ‘They want their shoes polished. If I don’t do it fast enough, they hit me with a cooking spoon.’ After her father died, her mother sent her and her sister from their home in West Bengal to work as maids. She is paid 100 rupees (a little over £1) a month.”

Please read the case studies and follow these links and read the three selections.

These two declarations represent two different approaches to the issue of human rights. One is from a universalist perspective, while the other focuses on a particular cultural and social context for human rights. By reading and discussing both of them we can gain a better understanding of how different societies interpret the concept of human rights.

Once you have read the texts you will answer a series of questions. You will be required to post answers at least twice, although you can contribute more often if you wish. You can either post an original answer to a question or comment on the posting of another student. However, at least one of your posts has to be a response to another student’s posting. Either way, your postings should be detailed and analytical. If you are late posting for the week do not simply answer a question that has already been answered by another student – contribute in a new way. Build upon your fellow students’ answers. Think of it as the class as a whole answering the question.

1. What factors today contribute to the global problem of child labor?
2. Consider article 32 of the United Nations Convention. How would you define “economic exploitation”? Is it possible to come to a consensus regarding minimum age and minimum wages for children? Why or why not?
3. Under what circumstances is it okay, or even beneficial, for a child to work?
4. Reflect on your own experiences as a child. Did you have to work, in or out of your home? What kind of jobs did you do? How old were you when you started? Were you paid? If so, how much?
5. How have notions of child labor in the US changed over the last 100 years? How do these ideas compare to notions of child labor in India?
6. As global citizens, what is our responsibility in terms of our business practices or personal purchases as they relate to this issue?

Week 3

Let’s continue our discussion this week, focusing on specific examples from our two countries. To facilitate this discussion you’ll be reading the Gap’s Goals and Progress on addressing Child Labor (http://www.gapinc.com/GapIncSubSites/csr/Goals/SupplyChain/Program/SC_Addressing_Child_Labor_Program.shtml exploring the Gap’s social responsibility website (http://www.gapinc.com/socialresponsibility/) as well as watching a short film


Work on the following questions. Be sure to post at least twice this week, with at least one of the posts being a response to another student’s posting.

1. What factors do you think likely contributed to the child labor issues that surfaced in this factory in India?
2. Analyze the Gap’s response to the child labor scandal – was it thorough? Was it effective? Was it fair?
3. How can a huge multinational corporation effectively ensure fair and safe labor practices?
4. Does this news and the Gap’s response make you more or less likely to purchase its products? Why?
5. What role do journalists play in promoting global human rights? If this news story hadn’t broke, would the Gap had made as much progress in combating child labor?

Week 4

Sadly, it’s already time to say goodbye. Each student should post at least once this week.

1. What have we learned about the existence of child labor in our two countries, and in the larger world? Is the exploitation of child labor truly a universal concept?
2. Beyond the question of child labor, what is our responsibility as global citizens to adapt our purchasing practices to try and bring about a better world?
3. What have we learned about each other and ourselves from this discussion?
4. Would you like to say goodbye to your new friends? What do you want them to know about your country?

In addition, Champlain College students should write a short reflective piece to be posted in their ePortfolio. What did you learn from the process? What were the similarities and differences that you discovered? What might explain them? What political, religious or cultural influences shaped these views? Are the viewpoints expressed in the Global Module shaped more by personal or larger societal influences?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spring 2009 Global Modules

I wanted to take the time to discuss our Spring 2009 Global Modules in greater detail, and recognize the folks who worked so hard on them. In a previous posting I provided a brief overview, and now I'd like to provide some more details.

As we've discussed over the last year we brought the GMs into the second year, including it as a required graded assignment (worth 10%) in either Secular & Sacred (COR 230) or Capitalism & Democracy (COR 240). And, obviously, we also had a new crew of first year students to get their first Global Module experience in Concepts of Community (COR 120). All together that added up to 52 Global Modules, with over 2600 students, from universities in India, Spain, Hungary, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Jordan, Kenya, Austria, Palestine, Lebanon and Kuwait. Our previous biggest semester was Spring 2008, which featured 39 GMs and 1100 students. Before that our biggest single semester was 5 GMs and 130 students. Obviously, we've come a long way in a short amount of time, and the thanks for that has to go to our wonderful faculty and students, both here and overseas.

So, let's talk briefly about the different pairings, which will help to give you a sense of the approach we take, and also the variety of directions that a professor can take.

Carmen Flys (University of Alcala, Spain) and Craig Pepin read Michaela de Leonardo's Women, Families & Work of Kinship and discussed kin work.

Kate O'Neill (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Ken Wade read articles from the Gulf News and discussed cultural differences and human rights.

Jack Kalpakian (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Jennifer Vincent read Thomas Friedman's Letter from Cairo and discussed economics and politics.

Connell Monette (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Cam Webster read sections from the Quran and New Testament and discussed the role of religion in society.

Deema Ammari (University of Jordan, Jordan) and Mike Lange read Nawal al Saadawi's The Death of His Excellency the Ex-Minister and Alice Walker's Everyday Use and discused society, gender and family.

Klaus Himpsl (Donau University Krems, Austria), Petra Pzucsich and Sarah Cohen read McLuhan's Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and discussed technologies as extensions of man.

Laza Sughayer (University of Jordan, Jordan) and Jonathan Davis read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Bridal Party and discussed marriage and societal perceptions.

Reka Matolay (Corvinus University, Hungary) and Richard Hunt - and Richard Szanto (Corvinus) and Alfonso Capone - read A Framework for Thinking Ethically and discussed ethics and community-building.

Mounsif Nazehi (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Cyndi Brandenburg watched a film entitled Reel Bad Arabs and discussed perceptions of Arabs in film.

Khalid Sendide (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Cyndi Brandenburg read Why Bother?, Hinrichsen's A Tale of Two Families, and Specter's Big Foot and discussed ecological and carbon footprints.

Janice Jayes (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and David Rous read the introduction to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and discussed the concept of woman as "other."

Erika Alm (Goteborg University, Sweden) and Mike Fonner read the introduction to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and discussed the concept of woman as "other."

Nandita Abraham (Pearl Academy, India) and Craig Pepin read Why Bother?, Hinrichsen's A Tale of Two Families, and Specter's Big Foot and discussed ecological and carbon footprints.

Susan Jones (Zayed University, Spain) and Tim Blake read Michaela de Leonardo's Women, Families & Work of Kinship and discussed kin work.

Joe Walwik (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Tim Blake read Elliott's To Lead the Faithful in a Faith Under Fire and Read's Muslims in America and discussed the challenges facing Muslims living in America.

Driss Maghraoui (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Chuck Bashaw read Rumi's Neither Christian nor Jew nor Muslim and portions of Nasr's The Heart of Islam and discussed the areas of intersection between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Steve McDaniel (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco), Kerry Noonan and Steve Wehmeyer read Stoeltje's Festival and viewed films of several religious festivals and discussed the role of festivals in a changing world.

Theri Bailey (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Peter Lynch read Why Bother?, Hinrichsen's A Tale of Two Families, and Specter's Big Foot and discussed ecological and carbon footprints.

Mark Olson (Gulf University of Science & Technology, Kuwait) and Alfonso Capone read Divorce Rates Increasing in Kuwait and A Closer Look at the Reasons for the High American Divorce Rate and discussed divorce and modern society.

Duncan Reinhart (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco), Bob Mayer and Willard Randall read Abdalla's Leadership Theory in the Arab Gulf States and Randall's Resurrecting the Founding Fathers and discussed leadership in the Arab and American worlds.

Michael Wainaina (Kenyatta University, Kenya) and Bob Mayer read Senior's Ascot and discussed the role of physical appearance in achieving success in different societies.

Hussein Solomon (University of Pretoria, South Africa) and Mike Lange read Whitehead's Ethnic Conflict and the Culture of Violence and Solomon's Between Islam and Islamism and discussed terrorism.

Karoly Pinter (Pazmany Peter Catholic University, Hungary) and David Kite read Heller's Twenty Years After and Obama's Acceptance Speech and discussed democracy in Hungary and America.

Steve McDaniel (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco), Kerry Noonan and Steve Wehmeyer read Michaela de Leonardo's Women, Families & Work of Kinship and discussed kin work.

Kelle Taha (University of Jordan, Jordan) and Barb DuBois read parts of Nine Parts of Desire by Brooks and discussed education for women in the Islamic world.

Vera Baboun (Bethlehem University, Palestine), Sarar Maalouf (Haigazian University, Lebanon) and Gary Scudder read the introduction to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and discussed the concept of woman as "other."

Rima Sabban (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Sandy Zale read parts of Nine Parts of Desire by Brooks and discussed education for women in the Islamic world.

Marsha Ludwig (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Tom Jordan read McLuhan's Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and discussed technologies as extensions of man.

Caroline Roth (University of Klagenfurt, Austria) and Signe Daly read McLuhan's Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and discussed technologies as extensions of man.

Again, thanks to everyone for all their hard work. Our success is a testament to the tireless work of so many faculty members from here at Champlain and abroad.