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College hosts lecture on global learning

Kaitlyn Rabach | Sunday, January 29, 2012

Colleges must follow through on their promises of global education, R. Michael Paige, professor of International and Intercultural Education at the University of Minnesota, said.

In his lecture, “Global Learning and the Intercultural Dimension of Internationalization,” delivered at Saint Mary’s College on Friday, Paige said universities promise perspective students a global education, but rarely go beyond the promise.

“Many times universities say they prepare globally perspective students, but the evidence is just not there,” he said. “The rhetoric often exceeds the practices.”

In order to follow through on these promises, Paige said faculty members must encourage their students to study abroad.

“Studying abroad stands as a beacon for students,” Paige said. “It is continuously listed as the most influential instrument in a student’s higher education learning experience. A real solid undergraduate education involves academic study abroad.”

Paige said faculty must question how they can prepare and support their students’ global perspectives.

“[Faculty must] foster a learning environment that prepares students to fully participate in the global community,” Paige said. “Colleges must have internationalization permeate the climate of learning.”

Incorporating global learning into the curriculum will also make classes more engaging, he said.

“Internationalization must be seen in the curriculum,” Paige said. “This aspect of learning makes courses more exciting and students love courses with an international dimension. We must be thinking how we teach and how we can enhance our student’s overall education.”

Marc Belanger, professor of Political Science at Saint Mary’s, said he agrees with Paige’s perspective.

“[Global learning] is important because today’sstudents simply will not be successful without an understanding of the global forces which impact how they live and work,” he said. “I have long believed it was our responsibility as humans to be globally aware.”