Grant Promotes Global Engagement
Northern has received a $157,000 U.S. Department of Education grant to enhance the international studies curriculum and support professional development opportunities for faculty. Tim Compton (Modern Languages and Literatures), director of the grant, said creating new courses in international studies will be a primary objective.
“We plan to add an introductory course, which will give students some cohesion as a group that they’ve been missing,” he added. “Currently, they take courses across disciplines and only meet in the senior seminar. This will provide an introduction to the various fields within international studies, create some cohesion for students in the program and make the curriculum more accessible and attractive.”
Three remaining objectives outlined in the grant proposal are to expand offerings in Spanish and Portuguese to broaden participation both in language courses across campus and learning opportunities in Latin America; create a campus-wide focus on Latin America to generate interest in international studies; and provide professional development opportunities and incentives for faculty.
“We hope to bring scholars to campus to help Northern faculty develop international studies and Spanish courses and there will be money available to send NMU faculty abroad for that same purpose,” Compton said. “We will also do faculty development in language teaching and assessment. Some of our faculty will travel to California for a great training opportunity this year. We have funding to bring trainers to NMU as well.”
Compton said students will benefit from the “trickle-down” impact of helping faculty to become more globally engaged and from opportunities to interact with visiting scholars and entertainers. A portion of the grant will be used to support the International Performing Arts Series. Compton said an international film series is also planned.
U.S. Department of Education grants for undergraduate international studies and foreign language programs have been around for some time, but Compton said Northern’s recent commitment to internationalization, as evidenced by the Road Map to 2015 strategic plan, contributed to a successful grant request.