World Without Borders to Challenge Faculty, Students

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- As a new academic year approaches, Columbus State University is challenging faculty and students to advance their global competence and citizenship through a new international learning community.

“World Without Borders” will operate through 2007-2008, anchored by a cross-disciplinary set of 30 internationally themed classes.

“Most of the courses are variations of existing ones, which have been altered to fit the theme, said Professor of English Dan Ross. “With this range and variety of courses, we hope to reach several hundred students by year’s end.”

The applied courses will even extend to an April 3-6 Theatre on the Park production of Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Blood Wedding.”

Ross has led a faculty committee in developing the core of the project, with broad support from the Center for International Education.

“We’ve modeled this after the University College’s Freshman Learning Community,” said CIE Director Neal McCrillis. “But this is much bigger.”

In addition to the courses, the CIE has structured its international campus programming around the course themes, he added. “So the film series, guest speakers, international student outreach and other programs all will be marshaled to this effort.”

The film series and guest speakers will be open to the public, extending World Without Borders to the off-campus community.

Meanwhile, the project will challenge CSU community members to examine and assess the “new global environment,” which includes increasing numbers of people moving across borders, either to travel or to immigrate, said Ross.

“This movement impacts religious, ethnic and racial tensions while heightening the prospects for social diversity,” he said. “But the ‘new global environment’ also makes us aware of threats of terrorism and the spread of diseases such as bird flu.”

To launch World Without Borders, CSU hosted a renowned scholar, Josef Mestenhauser from the University of Minnesota, who directed a faculty workshop in April. A follow-up workshop for faculty is set for Aug. 17 at the International House.

The project is supported by the Campus Internationalization fund, established by the Investment in People capital campaign. But with no external funding, said Ross, “this makes the willingness of our faculty to commit themselves all the more noteworthy.”

The venture, added Ross, “is based on the work at other universities but unique in format and scope.”

A few institutions, notably Kennesaw State, have conducted curriculum internationalization programs. “What’s different about our approach, is that it is thematically very broad and aimed at students across the campus in all colleges and all levels,” McCrillis said. ”So the program includes quite a few core curriculum classes.”

Also for CSU students, added Ross, “we hope the program will help them progress into international coursework within their majors and study abroad. Moreover, we believe our program is viable through future years.”

For more information, go to http://cie.colstate.edu/wwb.asp.