Translating Experience: Carleton’s Global Engagement Initiative

"The knowledge of foreign cultures is a vital element of any culture; I don’t believe we can ever have enough of it. A culture must be open to foreign influences if it wants to keep its own creative power alive." — Italo Calvino

How can we best prepare tomorrow’s leaders to engage with complex issues that affect multiple regions, cultures and disciplines?  This is the challenge we address in “Translating Experience” – an ambitious project to teach students how to deepen their knowledge of other regions and cultures of the world, as well as transfer and translate their learning to other contexts and disciplines.

As an institution of higher education, Carleton has made global engagement a priority.  This is reflected in the new graduation requirement for “Global Citizenship,” as well as our Strategic Planning priority of internationalization.  Given our current strengths in foreign languages and area studies, and our very high rate of student participation in off-campus studies, we can now help our students deepen their understanding of world regions and global issues. We will achieve this goal by enhancing integration between current institutional structures, particularly within the curriculum and between the curriculum and off-campus studies. (Want more? Check out our press release.)

Our Goals: 

  1. Integration of OCS work with On-campus Study.  We will enrich existing Carleton OCS programs; expand internships and service learning opportunities at home and abroad; develop collaborations with foreign institutional partners; and integrate OCS experiences with work students do on campus—both before departure and after re-entry.
  2. Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC).  Most Carleton OCS programs include important interaction with foreign languages, but we mean to bring the important FLAC lessons of study abroad back “home.”  To this end we will implement: low-intensity language modules that can be embedded in content courses; high-intensity language modules that can be added to existing courses such as trailer courses; global current events course; small civic engagement experiences that intersect with non-English speaking groups locally; opportunities for language-based experience and research.
  3. Curricular Integration.  We envision several models for integrating student learning that will deepen knowledge of a region while engaging with trans-regional issues.  These include: establishment of a pathways system on the Web for course integration; development of coordinated teaching models along the lines of our current dyad system; creation of a pilot model for collaboration among student research across area studies and disciplines—including a cross-disciplinary, team-based comps exercise (available for some students).
  4. Faculty Development.  All of the goals outlined above require involvement and oversight by faculty.  In order to prepare for and model cross-area collaboration, we will create faculty research seminars that bring faculty research and teaching interests together around global issues and themes.  We will also develop workshops for the development of new and flexible models for coordination of the curriculum as well as co-curricular programming.

Need more information? No problem; just contact us.