The Center for Global Communication initiates a workshop series this fall, “Teaching Without Borders,” for faculty interested in adding an international component to their course.
This fall marks the beginning of a new venture for Texas Tech University. The Center for Global Communication will launch the Academy for Curricular Internationalization, a workshop series for faculty to collaborate with internal and external experts to enhance global learning in the classroom.
This academy could not come at a better time. With the rise of global challenges such as climate change, economic inequality and international health crises, college graduates are looking to navigate in a relatively new global job market.
The Center for Global Communication, housed in Texas Tech's Office of International Affairs (OIA) originated as part Texas Tech's quality enhancement plan (QEP) “Communicating in a Global Society.” In keeping with the requirements of its accreditation agency, Texas Tech had to put together a project that emphasized global communication within the undergraduate experience. The QEP launched in 2016 under the leadership of the Office of the Provost.
“The center initiated a series of global initiatives on campus,” said Paul Paré, director of the Center for Global Communication. “As the program approached its completion date, the provost, after taking recommendations from an advisory committee, negotiated that the program transition to the Office of International Affairs.”
“There was a genuine need to keep emphasizing a broader context for global curriculum,” said Sukant Misra, vice provost for International Affairs. “The center needed to continue to exist, with a focus on curricular internationalization.”
With the backing of the OIA, the program has become more focused on course internationalization with a focus on global challenges and intercultural communication.
“Through the pandemic, we have become acutely aware of the importance of global cooperation and effective communication with those of other cultures and nations,” Paré said. “From climate change to global health, the world is becoming a smaller place, and we impact each another. The new workshop series provides a venue for faculty to identify programs and techniques for expanding global offerings in the classroom.”
Indeed, global mindset isn't just a passing phase or buzzword.
“Corporate America has begun asking universities to place a larger emphasis on developing globally competent graduates,” Misra said. “Companies have found employees enter the workforce with a real lack of knowledge in this area. Companies need leaders who can harness the synergy of multiple cultures working together to produce deliverables.”
And this is exactly what the Academy for Curricular Internationalization seeks to accomplish. Faculty are encouraged to apply by Sept. 17, after which a cohort of 10 applicants will be selected for the first class.
The academy will begin in October and run through the school year. The series will include workshops that feature guest speakers from Google, Indiana University, Duke University and Purdue University. Selected faculty also will pair with a mentor from their respective colleges for additional support and collaboration.
“The training series will cover course internationalization so instructors can clearly articulate global learning outcomes and readily transform teaching content, pedagogies and means of assessment,” Paré said. “We are excited to see the course content faculty will create to inspire and empower students.”
Misra understands better than most the importance of having a global perspective.
“Even 37 years ago, I understood that we lived in a global society,” Misra said. “I left my home in India because I wanted to broaden my skillset and my horizons. That decision has greatly impacted my life, and I believe the work we're doing here at Texas Tech is giving other people those opportunities as well.”
For some students, study abroad or other immersive experiences are not a physical or financial reality. While the OIA strongly encourages students to seek global experience by traveling, it also wants to create more globally focused curriculum right here on campus so students will graduate with the skills needed to tackle global challenges regardless of their capability.
“Higher education will have missed the mark if we do not prepare students to be global citizens and leaders,” Paré said.
And while internationalizing a university's curriculum is no easy (or quick) task, it's one Texas Tech leaders are ready to take on.
“The art of internationalizing curriculum is not obvious,” Misra said. “It is, in fact, an art. Here at Texas Tech, we believe the art must be taught, and that is why we are passionate about introducing this new program.”