I am thrilled to be a part of the new Center for Global & Local Engagement. GALE consists of the Office of Study Abroad (formerly part of the International Education Center) directed by Sarah Spencer; the Office of Civic Engagement (formerly the Office of Service learning & Civic Engagement) directed by Dr. Kimberly Vrudny; the new Office of Sustainability Initiatives directed by Dr. Elise Amel; and the Selim Center for Learning in Later Years directed by Dr. Jan Viktora. In addition, GALE is part of a new effort to encourage social innovation and social entrepreneurship with the ASHOKA U change team led by myself, Dr. Brian Abraham and Dr. Adam Kay. Housed in Academic Affairs, the Center for Global & Local Engagement is fully committed to promote mutually beneficial, ethical, and sustainable curricular collaborations that support the broader mission of the University to advance the common good.
The Center is dedicated to provide structure and scaffolding for a wide variety of engagement opportunities that enhance student learning. We have a unique opportunity to develop and execute a new vision that provides integrated reciprocal partnerships and direct experiences in higher education. We are currently working with the strategic planning process to address campus internationalization and innovative partnerships with non-profit and governmental organizations and both local and global businesses. Our hope is to provide meaningful opportunities for the 21st century Tommie; the academically prepared, globally aware, culturally agile, morally responsible change maker who is equipped to think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to positively influence our complex world.
In the last half year, we have been busy with restructuring and have hired four new professionals: Kelly Sardon-Garrity, the new program manager in Civic Engagement; Dr. Maria Dahmus, the new program manager for the Sustainable Cities Initiative; Erin Muckerheide, the new Assistant Director for Finance and Operations; and Daryl Coppeletti, the new Assistant Director for Standards and Assessment. In the next half year, we will be focused on developing University-level processes and best practices in facilitating off-campus curricular experiences and managing our international agreements and exchanges for our current students, staff, and faculty.
We have aligned our engagement opportunities with the UN millennium development goals and strive to empower efforts on campus that emphasize global awareness, environmental sustainability, educational access, gender equity, human rights, public health, civil rights, global development and economic justice. We will continue to support the many great initiatives found throughout our graduate and undergraduate programs, and also help foster new multi-disciplinary efforts that will nurture both curiosity and innovation in our students as we collaborate to make significant societal contributions. As humans, we yearn for connectivity, and I sincerely hope that the new Center for Global & Local Engagement will help create a University-wide community working in solidarity to broaden our collective impact. These are exciting times. Let’s dream, inspire, develop, and execute together!
Camille George, Ph.D. is the associate vice provost for global and local engagement.
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