Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Champlain College Receives Heiskell Award

Champlain’s Global Initiatives Programs Earn Top Honors

Andrew Heiskell Award Given for Innovative Approach to International Studies

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Champlain College’s innovative international initiatives have earned the college a prestigious award from The Institute of International Education (IIE).

Champlain College will receive the 2009 IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education on March 19 at a ceremony at the United Nations in New York. The awards, now in their eighth year, were established to promote and honor outstanding initiatives in international higher education among the members of IIE’s association of more than 1,000 institutions.

“By recognizing excellence and innovation, the Institute hopes to promote a comprehensive range of efforts to make college campuses more international,” explained IIE President Dr. Allan E. Goodman. “The award-winning programs represent the best practices in internationalization. We hope these will encourage and inspire other campuses to better prepare their students to be active global citizens.”

Preparing citizens to actively engage in a global society is a widely held precept in education, and most colleges and universities have embraced the idea, according to Elizabeth Beaulieu, dean of the Core Division of Champlain College. Still, fewer than two percent of Americans study abroad (the traditional venue for offering an international experience), and overwhelmingly they choose destinations in Europe.
“Champlain College is dedicated to the goal of providing an international experience for every one of its students and to be honored so early in our efforts is significant. It recognizes our commitment to liberal learning outcomes for the 21st Century,” Beaulieu said.

IIE honored Champlain College in the category of “Internationalizing the Campus,” for advancing international curriculum development and providing innovative services to students through its Institute for Global Engagement headed by Gary Scudder, assistant dean for Global Engagement.

The Institute has developed three successful student and faculty programs designed to make the curriculum at Champlain College more international:
• Global Modules program (four-week, intensive online projects linking more than 3,000 students in 12 countries)
• Faculty Internationalization Initiative offering stipends for summer travel and course development
• A visiting scholar-in-residence program for international faculty.
“We are honored by this award and the recognition of Champlain’s efforts help our students become better global citizens through study abroad, increased opportunities for international dialog between students and hosting international scholars on campus,” said David Finney, president of Champlain College.

Champlain’s Global Modules

Champlain’s Global Modules program allows professors in any subject to inject international components into existing courses with little investment of time, money and effort. Created by Scudder, Global Modules are short, intensive, thematic online discussions between students and faculty members at different international universities.

Global Modules has grown in its first full year to include more than 3,000 students at 14 colleges and universities worldwide. “By 2009-10, we expect that more than 6,000 students a year from across the world will participate in these significant, content-based global education experiences,” Scudder said. In each course, participants include equal numbers of students at two or more universities. Topics, chosen by the professors, are wide-ranging and designed to encourage inquiry and cultural sensitivity.

“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.” Scudder said. “There is an endless choice of topics, readings and approaches that professors can take to enrich the educational experience. And you’re not trading credits or tracking money, so you don’t have the headaches associated with formal study abroad programs.”

Global Modules is so successful at Champlain that this year, Scudder notes, it has been incorporated into the core curriculum at the college and all freshmen and sophomores will take at least one course that includes the Global Modules content.
“Over the years we've discussed terrorism with students from Jordan, peace activism with Austrian students, globalization with Indian students, ecological impact with Kenyan students, the crisis in Lebanon with Australian students and women's issues with Moroccan students,” he said.

"The Heiskell Award is also recognition of the vision and hard work of our international partners. Without the support of the faculty and students at schools like Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, Kenyatta University in Kenya, Corvinus University in Hungary, and the University of Jordan, just to name a few, we wouldn't have a network and our students here at Champlain wouldn't have this amazing experience," Scudder emphasized.

Champlain is also among a small number of American universities that participate in the American University in Cairo’s videoconference Dialogue project.

Scudder travels extensively to build partnerships with international universities, and his main focus is on Africa and the Middle East, “Largely because those regions are either ignored or demonized in the media. This award will continue to help open doors to new collaborations and partnerships with colleges and universities around the world,” he said.

Faculty Internationalization Initiative

The Faculty Internationalization Initiative at Champlain College is aimed at ensuring professors have the resources and support to travel and develop international courses, according to Finney, who provided funding that gave 14 Champlain College professors $6,000 each to go to the Middle East last summer. While there, they gathered information and course materials to develop international core courses for the 2009-2010 school year.

This summer, the program will send another dozen or so faculty members to China and the Middle East to develop course materials for 2010-2011.

Cities of Refuge Writers in Residence / Roger Perry Endowed Chair

Champlain was also cited for a new program to bring international scholars to campus to teach, lead seminars and interact with students and faculty over the course of the academic year.

Pierre Mujomba joined the Champlain College learning community in September 2008 as the institution's first City of Refuge Writer in Residence and the second recipient of the Roger H. Perry endowed chair. The City of Refuge program is a national initiative that offers writers facing persecution in their home countries a sanctuary where they can continue to work. Other Cities of Refuge include Ithaca, New York; Las Vegas; and Pittsburgh.

Mujomba, a playwright of international acclaim, is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which he fled in 2003 after the French-language publication of his best-known work, La Dernière Envelope (English title, The Lost Envelope). The play, which concerns the regime of former DRC president Mobutu Sese Seko, has been translated into English, as has Kalemba's Year without Pay.

During his residence over the 2008-2009 academic year, Mujomba will write plays, visit classes as a guest lecturer and present readings of his work.

Being away from the DRC, he says, allows him to express himself more freely. "In Congo we have the system of censorship," he says. "When I'm writing in Congo, I'm censoring myself. [Here] you're freer to write what you want. You have freedom to write all you can write ... Also, when I'm here, I am not only a Congolese writer. I am an African writer. It is important because when I'm writing, I'm no longer writing for a very small group. I try to write as an African who wants to let people know here what happened in Africa."

Champlain’s Institute for Global Engagement

“On both an educational and personal level, these programs make a world of difference for our students. They’ll never view the world the same way again after experiencing studying abroad, meeting a man like Pierre Mujomba or connecting with students on the other side of the globe through our programs,” Finney added.
Champlain College offers traditional study abroad programs with campuses in Dublin, Ireland, which opened in fall of 2008, and Montreal, Quebec, which opened in 2007. Finney also made a commitment to the incoming Class of 2012 at the freshman orientation in September to pay for passports for all first-year students who earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Champlain College was founded in 1878, and at its core is a bricks and mortar school, offering professionally focused majors. It has 2,000 campus-based undergraduate students on campus and is ranked 12th in the top tier of Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the North by 2009 America’s Best Colleges, published by U.S. News & World Report. To learn more about Champlain College, visit www.champlain.edu.

Heiskell Awards and IIE Overview

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world’s most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization. IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide, over 900 college and university members, and more than 5,000 volunteers.
The Andrew Heiskell Awards winning campuses for 2009 are: Champlain College (Co-winner, Internationalizing the Campus), Universidad de Monterrey (Co-Winner, Internationalizing the Campus), Clemson University and the University of Kansas (Study Abroad), Indiana University-Purdue University At Indianapolis (International Exchange Partnerships) and Scottsdale Community College (Study Abroad at the Community College). Honorable Mentions will be awarded to Vanderbilt University, Ohio University, Chaffey College and Salt Lake Community College.
Profiles of this year’s winning programs are available on the “Best Practices” resource of the IIENetwork website, at www.iienetwork.org/?p=BestPractices. This site showcases more than 50 winning programs and honorable mention recipients from the eight years of awards, to serve as a resource and inspiration for the international educational community worldwide.

Representatives from this year’s winning programs will be presented with a plaque and a $1,000 prize at the Heiskell Awards luncheon in New York on March 19, and will take part in panel discussions that day at the 4th Annual IIE Best Practices Conference. The programs will also be featured in the Spring 2009 issue of the IIENetworker magazine and will be highlighted by IIE as the best practices in the field of international education throughout the year.

IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships and the Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State.
The Institute is a resource for educators and institutions worldwide, publishing IIEPassport: Academic Year Abroad and Short Term Study Abroad and operating www.IIEPassport.org, the search engine for study abroad programs and www.fundingStudyAbroad.org, a free search engine for study abroad funding sources. IIE also conducts policy research and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad. Information on the Institute can be obtained from our Website: http://www.iie.org.

The Awards are named for the late Andrew Heiskell, a longtime member of IIE’s Board of Trustees, a former chairman of Time Inc., a renowned philanthropist, and a passionate supporter of international education, and have been endowed by a gift from Marian Sulzberger Heiskell as a lasting tribute to Mr. Heiskell's legacy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Religion and Society GM

Here is a Global Module that was constructed by Champlain's Cam Webster and Connell Monette from Al Akhawayn University. It examines issues of religion and society through readings drawn from the New Testament and the Quran. It fits in very well with our first year Concepts of Community course and our second year Secular & Sacred course.

Religion and Society

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

We are going to discuss the role of religion in society. Our texts will be selected readings from the Sermon on the Mount from the New Testament and the surah Women from the Quran. By reading and discussing these works we will not only learn more about these two religions, but this will also allow us to discuss the topic of how religion impacts society, and vice-versa.

Once you have read the assignment we 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. 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. The Quran, along with the Old Testament, are both much more specifically legalistic than the New Testament. Why might this be? What might be the implications of this fact?
2. What kind of society is Jesus describing in the Sermon on the Mount?
3. According to these documents, how should women or the underprivileged be treated? Are they treated this way in the religions today?
4. What is the relationship between humans and the divine that is expressed in these two documents?
5. How does religion influence society? How does society influence religion? How is the relationship expressed in these documents?

Week 3

Let’s continue our discussion this week, focusing on specific examples from our two countries. Work on the following question. Be sure to post at least twice this week.

1. What role does religion play in creating a sense of community in your country? What role should it play?
2. What is the dividing line between the secular and the sacred worlds in your society? Is there one? Should there be one?
3. Are there dangerous aspects to religion that can actually threaten the stability of a society?
4. Can we think of specific suggestions for ways to decrease the religious tension or misunderstandings in the world?

Week 4

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

1. What have we learned about the role of religion in our two countries, and in the larger world?
2. Some critics of the United States will point out that many of its problems are related to a lack of a solid religious foundation. Do you think this is true? Or, could it be argued that the U.S. has been successful because it is a more secular society?
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?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Iran and Contemporary World Developments Conference

I wanted to take the opportunity to call attention to the 1st Conference on Iran and Contemporary World Developments, which will be held at Imam Khomeini University in Iran on 19-20 August 2009. Here's a link to the conference website: http://navazeni.ir/Conferences/Iran&World09.htm

My colleague Bob Mayer and I will be chairing a panel, so feel free to put in a proposal. Also, please send this information along to anyone who might be interested. Thanks.


International and Inter-Civilizational Dialogue

In the year 2000 the United Nations, as part of its Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, encouraged all “Member States, regional and international organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations to continue to develop appropriate initiatives at all levels to promote dialogue in all fields with a view to fostering mutual recognition and understanding among and within civilizations.” These are laudable goals, obviously, but how much progress have we made in achieving this “mutual recognition and understanding?” This panel is designed to explore efforts to inspire international and inter-civilizational dialogue, as well as the obstacles that remain. Taking the UN Resolution 55/23 as a guide, we are particularly interested in proposals on efforts to promote “human rights and fundamental freedoms,” celebrate “cultural pluralism and creative human diversity,” explore the changing role of women, or examine the opportunities/threats presented by the increased interrelatedness caused by globalization. These efforts at achieving dialogue may relate to specific programs launched by international, governmental or non-governmental agents, but can also consider educational, cultural or technological projects. Proposals should be sent to the co-chairs: Dr. Gary Scudder (scudder@champlain.edu) and Dr. Robert Mayer (mayer@champlain.edu).