Global Focus Program
2003 Heiskell Award Winner: Internationalizing the Campus
Nomination submitted by: Dr. Shaik Ismail Assistant Vice President for International Programs
"As the world becomes ever more technologically and economically interconnected, Chatham College believes that providing students with a strong global perspective is critical," according to Chatham College President Esther L. Barazzone. "Our approach to internationalization is campus-wide and across the curriculum, involving all students and faculty regardless of major or discipline."
Preparing "world ready women" has become Chatham's central educational philosophy. This is carried out by infusing global themes into classrooms, campus programs and community activities and into co-curricular activities and student-led projects, as well as by providing an opportunity for every student to study abroad in her sophomore year. The centerpiece of Chatham's international initiative is the "Global Focus Program," which engages the Chatham College community in a comprehensive study of one country, region or theme each year. Students, faculty and staff work together in planning campus events, selecting speakers and lecture topics and engaging in collaborative academic assignments and service learning projects.
Chatham hosts a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from the selected country or region each year to help enrich curriculum offerings, plan programs and work with students. Chatham's international students are also fully integrated into the Global Focus Program each year, allowing them to showcase their own culture and become stakeholders in planning campus and community programs. The International Students' Association conducts various cultural activities, and organizes symposia and public fora that feature the focus region.
By the time she graduates, a Chatham student will have been exposed to four world regions in her curriculum work and co-curricular activities and will have had a chance to participate in a study abroad program featuring the global focus site. Students and faculty from all disciplines and majors participate, and the campus draws upon resources of Pittsburgh's international community, collaborating with community and neighboring institutions on joint public programs. This unique approach provides a model that is replicable by other small liberal arts institutions, particularly those without the budget flexibility to engage in comprehensive area-studies programs.