Committed to infusing internationalism into the curriculum as per its strategic plan, Wittenberg’s newly announced International Studies program not only gives students a competitive edge in the global economy, but it also reaffirms the distinctiveness of a Wittenberg education.
“This is an academic program that is so central to the mission and strategic plan of the university,” said George Hudson, professor of political science, department chair and director of Wittenberg’s Russian and Central Eurasian Studies Program. “It is distinctive because it is so rigorous, and it is the logical culmination of an emphasis on international education and a variety of collaborative efforts on campus.”
Hudson is one of several Wittenberg faculty members who saw a need and stepped in to fill it. But these individuals, including Associate Professor of Languages Tim Bennett, Associate Professor of Economics Larry Gwinn, Professor of Management Wayne Maurer, Associate Professor Languages Christine McIntyre, Professor of Political Science Bin Yu and Associate Professor of Languages Lila Zaharkov, didn’t just design a new curriculum during the last two years of planning. They have poured their hearts, souls and minds into creating a program that Hudson calls “bold” and “strongly interdisciplinary.”
The major will offer three educational “tracks” – diplomacy, international economics, and global issues and cultures – that will prepare Wittenberg students for exciting careers and top graduate programs. It will have an emphasis in the foreign languages, including a requirement of fluency in at least one language other than English.
“Consultants who reviewed the program saw its emphasis on foreign language and using language as a lens to understand better world cultures to be one of the new major’s greatest strengths,” Bennett said.
Revisions to the existing Global Studies program have helped shape the International Studies major/minor, including new foundational courses, greater emphasis on international experience and foreign languages, and the introduction of a new 300-level topics course that will count on faculty participation campus-wide. International Studies 300 will vary from year to year, but topics can include everything from global immigration issues, world cultures and cultural production, to international environmental studies, including botany or human disease.
The new degree program will replace the Global Studies program, although McIntyre, who previously served as the program’s director, will now serve as the director of the International Studies program.
“Dr. McIntyre brings a long record of dedication to international studies thorough her roles in the former Global Studies program, developing and leading an array of Wittenberg summer study abroad programs, participation in the current Culture and Languages Across the Curriculum project, and last but not least of all, through her teaching in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures,” said Provost Ken Bladh.
A program advisory committee and a faculty adviser for each of the three program tracks will also be established soon.