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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Our meeting will include Directors for Global Education and Deans from a Mellon Foundation Global Liberal Arts consortium that includes Carleton College, Connecticut College, Mount Holyoke College, Middlebury College, Wesleyan University, and other leading US liberal arts colleges.  With strong regional connections to the Claremont Colleges (Scripps, Pitzer, Pomona, CMC), as well as nearby peer institutions, 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.

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 leading international liberal arts colleges and programs will provide a truly global perspective, with representatives from Yale-NUS College (Singapore), Ashoka University (India), and Duke-Kunshan University (China) all presenting, and liberal arts programs in Switzerland, Netherlands, Argentina, Mexico, and five other countries represented.

Conference Themes

The themes of our conference are arranged as a pairing of a plenary panel discussion with a longer working group discussion. Each morning will feature three plenary panels on each of three themes, and the afternoon will provide a 90 minute parallel discussion on the three topics. The panels will each include an overview of the topic,  two or three representative case studies (highlighting both successes and challenge areas), and a discussion of generalizable principles with the audience. The discussions will allow participants to dig deeper into the topics, and develop solutions, and ongoing collaborations that can bring new developments on each campus.

The themes are organized into six sessions, described below, which include the 60 minute panel discussion and 90-minute working group discussion.

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)

Noah Pickus, Dean, Undergraduate Curriculum Affairs and Faculty Development, Duke Kunshan University (China)

Bryan Penprase, Dean of Faculty, Soka University of America

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

This panel will present various models of Centers for Global Learning/Global Engagement, exploring both new and long-standing centers within the tradition of liberal arts institutions. Centers with a focus on global learning have a surprising range of diversity in both institutional structure and activities. How do these various centers participate in the liberal arts mission of their institutions? What are the challenges of operating and sustaining such ventures? What can we learn about successful and less successful initiatives that would help our own institutions in future planning?


Tamar Mayer, Director of the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs and the Program international and Global Studies, Middlebury College

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

Richard Detweiler, President, Great Lakes College Association (GLCA)

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

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 of International and Professional Experience, Yale University
Antonio Gonzalez, Professor of Spanish and Director of the Fries Center for Global Studies, Wesleyan University
Vanita Shastri, Dean of Global Education & Strategic Programs, Ashoka University (India)
Talya Zemach-Bersin, Nancy L. Buc Postdoctoral Fellow, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Brown University

Session FOUR: The Global Liberal Arts College

In recent years, many liberal arts colleges have begun to promote themselves as incubators of “global citizenship.” In spite of these claims, however, it is unclear what precisely defines a college as global. The purpose of this roundtable discussion is to work toward a definition of the “global” in the liberal arts by looking at different versions of global programs from leading liberal arts colleges.


Tamar Mayer, Director of the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs and of the Program in International and Global Studies, Middlebury College

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

Jon Western, Dean of Faculty, Mt. Holyoke College

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 examine strategies and techniques for achieving these goals through coursework, eportfolios, transcript notations, and advising.


Eva Posfay, Professor of French, former Associate Dean, Carleton College

Arne Koch, Dean of Global Engagement, Associate Professor of German, Colby College

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

Elaine Meyer-Lee, Associate Vice President for Global Learning and Leadership, Agnes Scott College

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

Katie Purvis-Roberts, Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science; W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges