Religious Studies ranked in the top 10 departments for global learning

In just five years, global learning has become an integral part of FIU, helping students gain a greater understanding of global issues and the collaborative spirit and perspective necessary to tackle complex problems.

In that time, FIU’s schools and colleges have offered thousands of global learning course sections, tens of thousands of students have taken at least two global learning courses, and hundreds of professors have sought out training to become experts in teaching these courses.

As a result of FIU’s successes in global learning, the Institute of International Education recognized FIU in March with its 2016 Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus.

The university’s Office of Global Learning Initiatives, led by Hilary Landorf, recently completed a program review of all academic departments and assigned a Go Global score to each one based on the percentage of professors in each department who attended global learning workshops, the number of global learning courses offered by the department, and average student enrollment.

“FIU has embraced global learning like no other institution of higher learning,” Landorf said. “However, it was not enough for us to just see how many classes were offered or how many co-curricular opportunities were available for students.

“We wanted to see how different departments in different schools and colleges compared to generate excitement, to drive them to think of ways to improve their offerings to better help our students develop the competencies that will help them succeed in their personal and professional lives,” she added.

Four departments in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education (CASE) made the Top 10 list, including the Department of Teaching and Learning, which earned the highest Go Global score.

For CASE’s Department of Earth and Environment, chaired by Professor René Price, helping students understand the global nature of challenges facing the planet is a major concern.

sea level rise 2 This overhead shot of South Beach was taken as part of a photo shoot for the upcoming Spring 2016 issue of FIU Magazine, which will feature the university’s work on addressing sea level rise.

“When it comes to issues related to global climate change, we need to reach out to all students at FIU whether they are STEM students or not and educate them about climate change,” Price said. “If a student is a philosophy major or an art major, they still need to be aware of the processes that are affecting the one planet on which we live.”

Climate change and sea level rise have become serious threats to coastal areas including South Florida, and the university has leveraged the kind of collaborative problem-solving skills championed by global learning in its Sea Level Solutions Center.

At the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Founding Dean John Stack says a solid foundation in understanding global perspectives is key for the school’s graduates.

Five departments in the Green School – African and African Diaspora Studies, Global and Sociocultural Studies, Modern Languages, Politics and International Relations, and Religious Studies – were among the 10 best for global learning at the university.

“At the Green School, we are proud of our efforts to educate and train globally informed and engaged citizens,’’ Stack said. “Through innovative academic programs, world-class faculty and cutting-edge facilities, the Green School provides the skills necessary for students to thrive in today’s global society.’’

Sutton Folio Professor James Sutton, chair of the English Department, stands behind William Shakespeare’s First Folio. The Frost Art Museum was the only location in Florida to host the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national traveling exhibition First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.

The university’s Chaplin School of Hospitality Management and Tourism Management, third on the list, has a truly global footprint. In its Marriott Tianjin China Program, undergraduate FIU students experience international hospitality and tourism firsthand while learning English at the university’s partner institution, the Tianjin University of China.

And as business and global issues have become transnational, so too have languages. English, for example, is spoken throughout the world and is used as regularly at the business table as it is in political spheres. That doesn’t mean, however, that the language is universal from one continent to another or when comparing today to the distant past according to James Sutton, chair of the English Department.

“Much of the literature, from India to Australia, South Africa, the U.S. and Canada, is written in this language that we all think we are born into,” Sutton said. “English has many forms, dialects and varieties – it is a global language and has currency in the world. It’s important for faculty and students who are studying literature, creative writing and linguistics to have a good understanding of the language’s rich heritage.”

Listed below are the departments that earned the Top 10 Go Global scores for 2015-16.

Rank Department College Go Global Score:

1 Teaching and Learning CASE 100

2 Global and Sociocultural Studies Green School 79

3 Chaplin School of Hospitality Management Hospitality 76

4 Religious Studies Green School 68

5 African and African Diaspora Studies Green School 64

6 Modern Languages Green School 58

7 Politics and International Relations Green School 56

8 English CASE 54

9 Earth & Environment CASE 53

10 Women’s Studies CASE 52

10 Communication Arts CARTA 52

To explore how your department can expand its global learning offerings and improve its Go Global Score, contact the Office of Global Learning Initiatives at 305-348-4145, visit goglobal.fiu.edu or stop by GL 466.