It would be a good time to give a brief overview of the variety of Global Modules that we ran last semester. One of the great advantages of the Global Module approach is the flexibility it provides in linking seemingly very different classes together for an international and interdisciplinary experience. There is an endless choice of topics, readings and approaches that professors can take to enrich the educational experience. These different topics were run in just one semester, and we are busy creating dozens of new modules. Also, keep in mind that professors still have the freedom to create, with our assistance, their own Global Modules.
The students of Soonu Dhunjisha (THINC College, India) and Bob Mayer (Champlain) discussed the universality of human rights and read portions of the United Nations Declaration of Humans Rights and the Cairo Islamic Declaration of Rights.
The students of Akosua Darkwah (University of Ghana, Ghana) and Barb DuBois (Champlain) discussed domestic violence and read Belknap, Trials of Measuring the "Success" of Domestic Violence Policies and Fernandez, Cultural Beliefs and Domestic Violence.
The students of Sally Totman (Deakin University, Australia) and Mike Lange (Champlain) discussed perceptions of Arabs in film, while using as a common "text" two films - Kingdom of Heaven and Three Kings.
The students of Carmen Flys (University of Alcala, Spain) and Sandy Zale (Champlain) discussed immigration while reading Cariboo Cafe and examining provocative photographs.
The students of Andras Tetenyi (Corvinus University, Hungary) and Jennifer Vincent (Champlain) discussed the global public good vs. national interest while reading Nye's The American National Interest and Global Public Good.
The students of Bouziane Zaid (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Nancy Nahra (Champlain) discussed the Google virtual library project and read Kevin Kelly's Scan This Book!
The students of Kate O'Neill (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Ken Wade (Champlain) discussed cultural differences, specifically the interplay between one's personal culture and the culture of an organization, and read articles from the Gulf News.
The students of Erika Alm (Goteborg University, Sweden), Soonu Dhunjisha (THINC, India), Aarti Valia (THINC, India) and Fiona Mills (Champlain) discussed the concept of Woman as "Other" and read the introduction to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex.
The students of Brigitte Howarth (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Cyndi Brandenburg (Champlain) discussed ecological and carbon footprints, and read three articles: Hinrichsen, A Tale of Two Families, Plans for a Zero-Carbon City, and Specter, Big Foot.
The students of Richard Szanto (Corvinus University, Hungary), Reka Matolay (Corvinus), and Jenny Noller (North Carolina A&T University, U.S.) discussed conflict and cultural differences while reading portions of the play 12 Angry Men.
The students of Klaus Himpsl (Donau University Krems, Austria), Andreas Raith (Donau), Petra Szucsich (Donau), and Rob Williams (Champlain) discussed technologies as extensions of human beings while reading McLuhan's Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
The students of Inas Ababneh (University of Jordan, Jordan) and Phil Crossman (Champlain) discussed boundaries while reading Lincoln's 1st Inaugural Address, the Gettysbury Address, and Bierce's Incident at Owl Creek Bridge.
The students of Susan Jones (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) and Tom Jordan (Champlain) discussed women's suffrage and read two pieces: Addams, Why Women Should Vote and Reynolds, Anti-Woman Suffrage.
The students of Michael Wainaina (Kenyatta University, Kenya) and Cameron Webster (Champlain) discussed community, family and adulthood while reading the poems of several contemporary African poets: Ngatho, Footpath, Niyongo, Songs from the Congolese, Muigui, The Troubled Warrior, and Ingonga, Come, My Mother's Son.
The students of Mikael Ejdaback (University of Skovde, Sweden), David Kite (Champlain) and Alfonso Capone (Champlain) discussed medical ethics and health care while reading Omarzu's Selecting the Perfect Baby: The Ethics of "Embryo Design" and Yaich's Stem Cells: Promises to Keep.
The students of Lazaward Sughayer (University of Jordan, Jordan) and Anne Charles (Champlain) discussed connections and empathy while reading Nafisi's Mysterious Connections That Link Us Together.
The students of Joanne Valin (Nipissing University, Canada) and Richard Hunt (Champlain) discussed the topic of community and living deliberately while reading a section from Thoreau's Economy.
The students of Usha Narayanan (THINC, India) and Allyson Wattley (Normandale Community College) discussed perceptions of Arabs in film and read portions of Reel Bad Arabs.
The students of Inas Ababneh (University of Jordan), Hani Ellayan (University of Jordan) and Phil Crossman (Champlain) discussed the concepts of naming and identity and read portions of Levitt's Freakonomics and Watson's Nameless: Gender and Person in Chinese Society.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I was able to visit Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya in November. We had run a Global Module with a professor by the name of Naomi Shitemi a couple years ago and I finally had the opportunity to actually travel to Moi University to have more substantial discussions about expanding their participation. Unfortunatey, Naomi was out of town and left me in the competent hands of Gilbert Nduru who heads up the Geography Department. Moi University itself is located about an hour's drive outside of Eldoret. It is a beautiful drive out to Eldoret and countryside looked like a cross between Vermont and Indiana - Eldoret is big cheese country.
Moi is struggling with some technological limitations but they are also actively working to deal with the problems. The meetings went well, and I talked to the Dean of Arts & Sciences, several faculty members, and hundreds of students. I think that even considering the technological challenges the potential is definitely here for a great collaboration - and the will certainly exists on the part of Moi for grater international dialogue. Gilbert did manage to put together a Geography lab with pretty good Internet access, so I think we can eventually start by running GMs housed in Geography classes.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
We've just begun working with the University of Ghana so it's too early to talk of an actual partnership yet, but the early returns have been very promising. This past semester Akosua Darkwah from the University of Ghana paired with Barb DuBois from Champlain to discuss the complex issues surrounding domestic violence in Africa and the United States. The students examined two articles, Cultural Beliefs and Domestic Violence and The Trials of Measuring the "Success" of Domestic Violence Policies and discussed the situation surrounding domestic violence in their two countries and proposed suggestions for reducing violence against women. We're discussing a visit to the university within the next few months.
We want as many different voices represented in the international dialogue as possible. We're focusing on creating a strong foundation in Africa and the Middle East, two areas that are all too often either ignored or vilified. That said, we also other parts of the world included as well. Obviously, we want European universities and we're trying to get a variety of schools. Last year I visited universities in Sweden, Spain, Austria and Hungary.
One example of a potential Austrian partner is Danube University Krems. It is about an hour outside of Vienna, meaning that you travel around on the great intercity train system and then jump on one of the S lines that head out of town. Danube University Krems is an innovative school that is only around 15 years old and has around 3000 students. This last spring semester Klaus Himpsl, Andreas Raith and Petra Szucsich from Danube University Krems combined with Rob Williams from Champlain to run a Global Module on media, using portions of Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media: The Extension of Man as their common text. The conversation was wonderful.
Our initial local champion at Danube University Krems was Sabine Zauchner. Her interest in the project shows how even in the academic world there are advantages to "networking." I met a professor from Klagenfurt University in Austria when Champlain's Associate Provost Michelle Miller and I presented on the Global Modules at a conference in Hyderabad, India. The Klagenfurt professor then asked me to present at a Learning Communities conference in Klagenfurt, where I met Sabine after my presentation. She then encouraged me to visit her school and now it is paying benefits. After this initial success we are discussing ways to expand our partnership.
Friday, June 6, 2008
One of the newest members of our expanding Global Modules network is Kenyatta University. Kenyatta is Kenya's second largest public university and it is located just outside Nairobi, Kenya. I was fortune enough to visit the university this past November and they were enthusiastic in their support of creating more substantial ties to international universities. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olive Mugenda, the Director of University of Advancement, Professor Frederick Gravenir, and the Director of International Programs, Professor Caroline Thoruwa graciously took time out of their busy schedules to meet with me to discuss the Global Modules project and ways that our two schools could work together. This last semester Dr. Michael Mwaura from Kenyatta combined with Dr. Cameron Webster from Champlain to run a discussion focusing on African poetry and perceptions of adulthood and community.