By Kathryn Rosko, Rutgers Global
On Thursday, November 21, Rutgers Global hosted “The State of Global Engagement at Rutgers University-New Brunswick,” a signature program of International Education Week. The event included three panel discussions that underscored the diverse and innovative research and learning opportunities being undertaken by faculty and professional staff to advance Rutgers’ global engagement at home and abroad.
Barbara Lee, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, opened the Town Hall noting that it was also serving as the first meeting of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) at Rutgers University for this academic year.
The first panel highlighted “Undergraduate Curricular Innovations,” and included a discussion by Michelle Stephens, Dean of Humanities and Professor of English at the School of Arts and Sciences about the Language Engagement Project at Rutgers and the newly formed Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI), which supports multilingual English language learners in all stages of their academic careers. Robin Leichenko, Professor and Chair of Geography, shared information on the newly established interdisciplinary major and minor in Environmental Studies, as well as current, ongoing discussions to establish a new interdisciplinary major in International and Global Studies. Finally, Lauren Meregalli-Ferrer, Associate Director of Rutgers Global–Study Abroad, provided details about the newly launched “Access the World” initiative, which offers 30 global study abroad semester options at or below the cost of a semester at Rutgers with the goal of significantly increasing student participation.
For the second panel, a team from the School of Graduate Studies shared information about resources and services offered by their offices. Teresa Delcorso-Ellmann, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student External Support, spoke about the many graduate student fellowship opportunities and global engagement activities available to international students. Ramazan Güngör, Assistant Dean, discussed non-academic career pathways for graduate students. And Jerome Kukor, Dean of the School for Graduate Studies, gave a bracing presentation sharing his perspective on the opportunities and challenges in providing support for our significant international graduate student population (making up approximately 50% of the graduate student body at Rutgers University–New Brunswick).
The last panel focused on several “Signature Global Initiatives.” Robert Goodman, Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources, spoke about the School of Environmental and Biological Science’s Greece initiative, “New Agriculture for a New Generation,” funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This unique service program is helping address the youth unemployment crisis in Greece, and has grown to encompass 1500 participants and 10,000 learning hours. Mark Aakhus, Associate Dean for Research at the School of Communication and Information (SCI), talked about the “European Network for Argumentation and Public Policy Analysis” and COST Action APPLY. And Brent Ruben, Executive Director at the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership, provided an update on the Botswana-Rutgers Mahube Partnership for Transformation, including the news that a senior delegation from Botswana will be taking part in the Leadership Development Program at Rutgers in December.
Vice President of Global Affairs Eric Garfunkel moderated the third panel discussion and provided closing remarks, noting: “One key purpose of today’s event has been to begin to highlight and bring together a few of the many global initiatives, opportunities and engagement activities at Rutgers.” He added that Rutgers Global Grants will be announced shortly for interested faculty, and will focus on international collaboration, global health (in conjunction with the Rutgers Global Health Institute), global warming and climate related grants, and a new initiative called Professors without Borders.
Regarding the Town Hall event, Dr. Lee said, “These presentations are but only a partial snapshot of the many, many other exciting global activities and projects taking place on the New Brunswick and our other campuses.” She added, “I am confident that there will be future occasions for us to gather together to learn more about these other global initiatives.”