PC’s Global Studies Program Wins National Award
Providence, R.I. — NAFSA: Association for International Educators has chosen Providence College’s Global Studies Program as one of three U.S. higher-education recipients of its 2012 Sen. Paul Simon Spotlight Awards for Campus Internationalization.
The Spotlight Awards, named for the late Sen. Paul Simon (D-Illinois), a strong supporter of international education, recognize specific programs or initiatives that contribute toward “comprehensive internationalization.” Other recipients for 2012 are the University of Arizona and Washington and Jefferson College.
The award will be presented in November in Washington, D.C. A writer from NAFSA also will visit the PC campus to write a profile for a report, “Internationalizing the Campus 2012: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities,” to be published in the fall.
“This is a truly great honor for the College and, specifically, for the Global Studies Program, under the terrific leadership of Professor Nick Longo,” said Adrian G. Beaulieu, dean of PC’s Center for International Studies. “We should be very proud of this degree program that is only six years old and what it has accomplished in so short a time.”
More than 90 PC students now major in global studies, a program founded in 2005. They take foundation courses to develop an understanding of global religions, business, politics, and the responsibilities of leadership in a global community, and become fluent in a foreign language by taking two courses at the advanced level.
They also complete a study abroad program with an engaged learning component — either an internship, service-learning program, or individualized research project. During senior year, they undertake an in-depth study on a global issue, produce a thesis, and present the results of their work at a Global Studies Research Symposium.
Beaulieu said he believes the PC application stood out because of the program’s interdisciplinary components. The Simon Spotlight Award also recognizes that international study “is truly now an integral component of the academic experience for PC students,” Beaulieu said.
In the award application, Dr. Nicholas V. Longo ’96, program director and associate professor of public and community service studies, stressed PC’s commitment to international study, especially through the establishment of the Center for International Studies in 2007.
Increasing the number of students who study abroad is a goal of the College’s new Strategic Plan. It sets a target of 30 percent participation, which PC will reach next year, Beaulieu said.
Wide view, “shared vision”
“We take a collaborative approach in the Global Studies Program, so this award really is a recognition of how much can be accomplished when students, faculty, and community partners work together in a shared vision,” said Longo, who is the program’s first full-time director. Dr. Nuria Alonso García, associate professor of Spanish and department chair, served as interim director from 2005-2008.
“This gives us a chance to step back and celebrate how far we’ve come in just the past few years since the founding of the Center for International Studies and the beginning of the Global Studies Program,” Longo said. “That feels great. But we also realize that we want to keep improving, to work even harder to educate the next generation of engaged global citizens.”
Michelle DePlante ’08 said the Global Studies Program prepared her to be a leader on issues that impact local communities and the world. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she wrote her senior thesis about educational barriers for immigrants.
“The conversations and experiences I had with fellow students, inspiring faculty members, and passionate community partners gave me the knowledge, tools, and conviction to enter the workforce with a sense of promise and potential, and with a commitment to be a global citizen,” said DePlante, who is a coordinator for the International Institute of Rhode Island and teaches in the Global Studies Program.
Longo, too, was introduced to service learning while a student at PC. He was at the College when the Feinstein Institute for Public Service opened and was among the first to graduate with a minor in public and community service studies.
“One of the most important things that service learning helps students see is that you don’t need to separate your desire to learn from your desire to make the world a better place,” said Longo. “Spending time in local communities also helped me see how interconnected the world is and that solving local problems requires a global analysis.”