Last week, we were pleased to welcome Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, to our campus. During his visit, we told Dr. Goodman about our work to bring an international perspective to our students’ experience, and asked him how we might enhance our students’ preparation for professional and civic responsibility in an increasingly interconnected world.
While Dr. Goodman gave us some ideas to consider, he also shared some encouraging news: Gettysburg College is already doing an excellent job in this area—better than 80% of U.S. colleges and universities.
With Dr. Goodman’s assessment on my mind, I was struck by the number of times a global perspective came into focus throughout the remainder of the day’s activities. Later that morning, I participated in a meeting to discuss a faculty trip to India in May to study food security and connect with Indian scholars in their academic fields. During this gathering, we also discussed an upcoming meeting with Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and Office of International Business Development, during which we hope to explore opportunities for increased educational partnerships with India and increased Indian student recruitment.
That afternoon, our faculty meeting was devoted to the topic of internationalization, and our Internationalization Coordinating Committee shared their draft global learning outcomes for our students. While mingling after the meeting, I spoke to two faculty members who are taking their classes abroad—one to Paris over spring break, and another to Trinidad and Tobago at the end of semester.
Next, I headed across campus to attend a reception for our first-year foreign language scholars—a group of students who placed into advanced foreign language courses during their first semester at Gettysburg, and who plan continued language coursework and study abroad experiences.
Upon returning home that evening, I picked up our winter edition of the Gettysburg Magazine and read the article about Kanji expert Bret Mayer ’04—the first person outside of Eastern Asia to master the Japanese Kanji Aptitude Test. (That same magazine features an article about David Wemer ’14, who received an award from the American Historical Society on his work on economic transition in Slovakia; a short piece on Professor Brent Talbot’s trip to Bali with twelve Sunderman Conservatory students to learn Gamelan; and a story on how Peter ’86 and Kim Erskine carried their passion for travel and artisan-produced goods from around the world into a successful business venture.)
As I reflected on the day, I realized that it wasn’t particularly extraordinary. Perhaps that’s because global education is becoming such an important part of the Gettysburg experience—including nearly 100 study abroad programs in 50 countries, an increasing number of international students who are studying on our campus, majors dedicated to foreign language and cultures, courses throughout the College that integrate international themes and global issues, and service-learning immersion experiences around the world.
Over the next few months, you’ll hear about our plans to transform Plank Gym into a global pavilion, and our efforts to bring increased focus to our global programs and to provide new opportunities for their integration. These initiatives are of great importance as we prepare Gettysburg students to be active leaders and participants in a changing and increasingly globally interconnected world.
From classroom experiences to out-of-classroom ventures to alumni pursuits, there is no question that Gettysburg is going global!