KSU’s global learning initiatives among top in higher education

global_engagement icon.jpg

Two programs selected for presentation at national citizen diplomacy summit   KENNESAW, Ga. (…

Georgia (Sep 27, 2010)

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 27, 2010) – Kennesaw State University has been selected as one of 10 higher education institutions in the country with exemplary programs designed to bolster Americans’ engagement in international activities and issues, the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) announced last week.
Two of the university’s global learning initiatives — the annual “Year of” country study and the Global Certification Program — will be among those presented at a national summit promoting global citizen diplomacy. The summit, a partnership between USCCD and the U.S. State Department, will be held in Washington, D.C., in November. 
KSU was selected by the summit’s Higher Education Task Force, which reviewed proposals submitted by academic institutions from around the U.S. 
Since 1983, the “Year of” program has presented a year-long series of lectures, cultural events and forums designed to immerse the campus and local community in a study of a particular country or region of the world. A full calendar of events and activities typically are presented in conjunction with global partners including universities, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Students, faculty and staff also form leaning communities to study, share knowledge and conduct research related to the country of study. In recent years, KSU has presented “Year of” studies of Korea, Turkey, the Atlantic World, Kenya, China, France and Spain. The current academic year has been designated the “Year of Romania.”
The Global Certification Program, introduced in 2008, allows KSU students to develop portfolios of their global learning experiences and have them assessed in order to be certified as a global scholar. The certification recognizes their achievement of global perspectives, intercultural skills and responsible citizenship through coursework, education abroad and intercultural experiences.
“The ‘Year of’ program is a cornerstone of Kennesaw State’s commitment to global learning and engaged citizenship,” said Barry Morris, executive director of the university’s Institute for Global Initiatives. “The certification program has allowed us to establish a student-driven process for recognizing student achievement in global learning.  We are delighted that the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy has recognized our efforts to foster global knowledge and understanding and to validate our students’ global learning experiences.”  
In the 1980’s, Kennesaw State was among the first in the University System of Georgia to internationalize its general education curriculum and establish an interdisciplinary undergraduate major with an international focus. As part of its reaffirmation for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the university committed in 2007 to a five-year comprehensive plan to further enhances the internationalization process.
For the upcoming summit, the USCCD set out to recognize such efforts in higher education and in nine other sectors where independent task forces reviewed hundreds of initiatives demonstrating and promoting Americans’ engagement in citizen diplomacy. 
The nine task forces, each of which chose 10 finalists, were headed by leaders in each of the sectors. Marlene M. Johnson, director and CEO of the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), co-chaired the Higher Education Task Force.          
“We were impressed by how creative and entrepreneurial institutions are in serving students’ needs and engaging internationally,” Johnson said. “Students today are seeking opportunities to make a difference, and they also demand an education that builds global competencies they will need after graduation.”
Applicants were asked to describe how their programs address global challenges specified in the criteria. In submitting the proposal, “Year of” program coordinator Dan Paracka indicated the programs’ effectiveness in creating a globally competent society and encouraging cultural understanding.
“The country study program has created a ripple effect leading to greater global competence and cultural understanding among students and faculty,” Paracka said.  “It has generated heightened interest among faculty, additional funding for faculty travel, new courses, education-abroad opportunities for students, and mutually beneficial global partnerships.”  
Contact: Sabbaye McGriff, 678-797-2550 or smcgrif1@kennesaw.edu


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu