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College opens Department of Global Studies

Jillian Barwick | Thursday, August 16, 2012

This fall semester brings the launch of a new department on the Saint Mary’s campus. The Department of Global Studies is ready for enrollment to the college.

Jill Vihtelic, chair of the department of Global Studies and a professor of business, believes the new department will bring a greater sense of excitement about global studies programs.

“The Global Studies programs will act as a home for students who want to further their knowledge on global studies,” Vihtelic said. “This is where their global interests can flourish.”

Global studies is an interdisciplinary major in which students learn about the economic, historical, cultural, geographical, and political factors that influence global processes.

“The major is built around a core of globally oriented social science courses which provide a foundation for upper-level concentrations in which the student can take advantage of a wide array of curricula at Saint Mary’s and tailor her major to her interests and future professional goals,” Vihtelic said.

Since Saint Mary’s is gaining more international students every year, the department expects the new programs to be more attractive to these students who identify with global studies, Vihtelic said.

“Saint Mary’s is continuing the growth of international students and this is a great opportunity for these students to come and study at a place that they can call their home,” Vihtelic said.

Incoming faculty for the new department is also diverse, Vihtelic said.

“We have professors who are coming to Saint Mary’s from all over the globe to teach in our department because global studies is already attractive to them,” Vihtelic said. “This is very exciting for us and for them as well.”

According to the program description, students who major or minor in global studies will be required to spend at least five weeks in a college-sponsored study abroad program. They must also have competence in at least one world language.

Requiring the students to study abroad will increase the use of technology into each course for students in the major and minors, Vihtelic said.

“We will be encouraging our students to tweet and blog more about their experiences at Saint Mary’s as well as their experiences abroad,” she said. “Students will also begin creating an E-portfolio which will contain everything they create from the courses they take. This is a great tool to have for meeting future employers.”

The new department will spark a great interest for global studies to students who may want to explore new cultures, Vihtelic said.

Vihtelic said the Department of Global Studies responds to global interests for students on campus.

For more information on the Department of Global Studies, visit http://www3.saintmarys.edu/departments/global-studies