Our Globalizing the Liberal Arts conference will bring together leaders from leading liberal arts colleges and programs to engage in a summit meeting that will discuss ways in which liberal arts can provide undergraduates with the capability to collaborate on complex problems that span diverse cultural perspectives. The leaders gathered at our meeting articulate the vision of liberal arts and its role in fostering global citizenship, and how liberal arts can respond to the demands of our societies for solutions to urgent social, political and scientific problems.

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Some of the themes our meeting will address – in a mix of keynote presentations, panel discussions and working groups – includes:

Session One: The Role of the Core and GE Curriculum in Global Liberal Arts

Several colleges provide extensive Core and General Education Curricula for all of their undergraduates, and in many cases these courses enable students to develop deep intercultural understanding and explore the works and perspectives of civilizations from Europe Asia and other countries. How do these core curricula work and what are their main benefits and challenges? A group of institutions will present the key features of their Core and GE curricula and discuss some of the ways they operate in a globalized liberal arts education.


David Helfand, Professor of Astronomy and Chair of the Committee on Innovative Teaching and Learning, Columbia University

Terry Nardin, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Common Curriculum at Yale-NUS, Yale-NUS College (Singapore)

Bryan Penprase, Dean of Faculty, Soka University of America

Session two: Centers for Global Learning: Variations in Structure and operations

This group will describe several models of a Global Learning Center–some well-established and some just starting, and share the experiences of building centers, and how these centers can help build toward a more global liberal arts experience on a liberal arts campus.


Tamar Meyer, Middlebury College, Rohatyn Center

Kate Patch, Senior Director of Global Initiatives, Grinnell College, Institute for Global Engagement

Mary Coffey, Associate Dean, Pomona College, Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations

Amy Dooling, Associate Dean of Global Initiatives, Connecticut College


Session three: Study Abroad in a Connected World

The era of digital communications technologies has radically changed the experience of study abroad, and poses new challenges for educators. Whereas students commonly use their electronic devices to take refuge in the deracinated internet environment, our challenge is to harness these devices as a tool for helping them maximize their intercultural learning abroad.  Technology now allows us to access the world beyond our borders in the classroom, and we can replicate intercultural encounters that were previously only experienced abroad. As we reevaluate the concepts of “intercultural” and “abroad” we must also consider what new pedagogies will best prepare our students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world, at home and while abroad.


Jane Edwards, Dean, Professional and International Experience, Yale University

Antonio Gonzalez,      Director, Center for Global Studies, Wesleyan University

Vanita Shastri, Dean of Global Education & Strategic Programs, Ashoka University (India)

Talya Zemach-Bersin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Pembroke Center, Brown University

Session Four: The Global Liberal Arts College

In many contexts, colleges promote “global citizenship” as one of the key outcomes of their education. What elements make a campus a Global Liberal Arts College? And how can we provide a more meaningful set of definitions and components that are required for a campus to be truly global? This roundtable discussion will explore these concepts with a presentation by Timi Mayer, and a discussion with leaders from several leading “global” campuses to find common elements that we can use as a framework for assessing our campus and its globalization.


Trisha Craig,    Dean of International and Professional Experience, Yale-NUS College (Singapore)

Nadia Horning, Director of Social Entrepreneurship Programs, Middlebury College, Middlebury College

Jeremy Adelman, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and Director of the Global History Lab, Princeton University

Kara Godwin, Research Consultant, Boston College, Center for the International Studies of Higher Education


Session Five: Capturing the Global Experience

The activities collected under the rubric of “global experience” tend to be multiple and far-flung—often including off campus study, select courses, internships, civic engagement, language study, participation in events, and more. How can we curate these experiences in a way that renders them more coherent and meaningful for our students while at the same time translating

them into a more broadly understood academic currency? This session will focus on three related topics: 1) courses that encourage student reflection;

2) eportfolios and other techniques for assembling and assessing disparate experiences; 3) transcript notations as a way to recognize and represent a body of work.


Eva Posfay, Prof of French, former Assoc. Dean, Carleton College

Arne Koch, Dean of Global Engagement, Colby College

Eric Feldman, Program Manager, Office of Global Learning Initiative, Florida International University


Session six: Globalized STEM Education

How can we bring our STEM faculty and students into deeper engagement with globalized issues in science and technology? What kinds of tie-ins can study abroad have with STEM to make for more meaningful engagement within the international experience? And what are some of the emerging new curricula in science within liberal arts institutions? This panel will discuss the state of STEM education within liberal arts in a global context.


Marc los Huertos, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Environmental Analysis; Coordinator of Environmental Analysis, Pomona College

David Drew, Professor of Education and Joseph B. Platt Chair in the Management of Technology, Claremont Graduate University

Kathy Takayama, Director, Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research, Northeastern University

Our meeting will include Directors for Global Education and Deans from a Mellon Foundation Global Liberal Arts consortium that includes Carleton, Connecticut College, Colorado College, Grinnell, Hamilton, Lafayette, Mount Holyoke, Middlebury, Saint Lawrence, Trinity College, Union, Wesleyan, and Williams.  With strong regional connections to the Claremont Colleges (Scripps, Pitzer, Pomona, CMC and Harvey Mudd), as well as nearby peer institutions (Occidental, LMU, Chapman, and Whittier Colleges), we will be able to offer presentations and share perspectives on global liberal arts from leading institutions across Southern California. Yale University and Yale-NUS College (Singapore) have agreed to participate, and both will be sending teams of faculty to represent their new projects in undergraduate education and liberal arts. Yale and Yale-NUS jointly organized a conference in 2016 entitled “Globalizing the Liberal Arts (https://gla.yale-nus.edu.sg/) and many of participants from that meeting would be invited and expected to attend.

Presentations from faculty at Soka University of America will represent Soka’s innovative liberal arts curriculum, that emphasizes global citizenship and liberal arts, and also introduce attendees to our beautiful campus – perched in the hills above Laguna Beach.  An additional opportunity exists to connect to excellent liberal arts programs internationally and we expect several representatives of international institutions to attend. The presence of representatives from Asian liberal arts colleges and programs will provide a truly global perspective.