FSU faculty introduces new global studies major
By Kimberly Awiszio
FSU faculty expect to be 1nished with a new global studies major proposal by the end of the semester. The major should then be available to students by fall 2014.
Global studies is the study of global interactions in terms of political, cultural, and economical
Ben Alberti, acting chair of the sociology department, said, “It involves culture, history, economics, business, sociology. ... You can relate global studies to just about everything.
“Global studies is the way that we’re all linked together, we’re all connected, with places that are far away from us, but in a very local sense.”
The program, according to Alberti is made up of many different areas of study. He described his role in forming the new program as “leading the effort.”
Lisa Eck, an English professor and member of the new major’s advisory council, said that global studies is a way to “go global while staying home.”
Vice President for Academic ANairs Linda Vaden-Goad said the new major “will expand our students’ skillfulness to think globally in a number of different academic 1elds of study, and prepare for future career opportunities that involve communicating with and listening to people who grew up differently.”
Vaden-Goad said the new major is being funded from the Academic Affairs Strategic Planning Initiatives Fund. “This support was in the prior 1scal year, and I believe it was approximately $10,000. We also have granted support for survey and evaluation as they prepare for the final approval steps,” said Vaden-Goad.
According to an update on the program from Alberti, there are approximately six steps to proposing a new major. First, an advisory council with faculty members from each of the departments involved is formed. Then the “new major log” goes through the university governance system. The abstract for the major is then sent to the Board of Trustees.
A letter of intent is then submitted to the Board of Higher Education and to two third-party reviewers for approval. From there, the 1nal program is developed. This involves the new major’s committee members deciding on courses, faculty and concentrations.
Then, the third-party reviewers visit the campus to talk to administrators, faculty and students and a final proposal is sent to the Board of Higher Education.
According to Alberti, the committee is developing the 1nal program right now.
“We’ve already got so many great courses and international faculty. ... It’s just a matter of orienting what we have,” said Alberti.
The program, according to Alberti and Eck, would be interdisciplinary. Each student would be required to complete certain core courses, but the goal of the program is for students to choose electives which would relate or “talk to each other,” said Eck.
“It’s going to require the kind of student who wants to design their own curriculum,” she added.
Alberti said the major will “attract students who want to see connections between their classes.”
Both Alberti and Eck said their own experiences, such as studying abroad, inspired them to form this major.
“I want students to experience what it means to be in connection with other people. From when I was a student, my most powerful experience I had was study abroad,” said Alberti. “Then, you really feel those kinds of connections and differences and similarities. It’s a powerful, emotional experience, as well as a great study experience.”
The committee hopes for study abroad to be an important part of the new major.
Vaden-Goad said the university administration and faculty have worked to make study abroad easier and more affordable for students.
“We have money through the university foundation that has been given as gifts to the global studies fund. That money is allocated to students based on their need, program of study and travel plans,” said Vaden-Goad.
She added that financial aid has also helped students to take advantage of the opportunity as well.
Eck, who already teaches classes involving global studies, said she was empowered by her study abroad experiences as well as her own students. She said she watches her students use global studies every day, and it amazes her.
“We need people in the work place who are not flustered by cultural difference, can speak cross-culturally, who have an interest in contact, travel and translation,” said Eck.
Alyssa Duprey, a junior communication arts major who is looking to go into advertising after graduation, said, “I think that global studies is imperative in a world where the globe and humans are more connected than ever before.”
In the careers section of their proposal, the committee wrote, “A multidisciplinary global studies major can contribute to many organizations and businesses. There is an emerging need for people who can understand and manage global issues, including developing the ability for problem-solving across boundaries and cultures.”
Alberti said, “It’d be incredibly interesting to future employers that not only are you good with text and interpretation ... but that you’re so comfortable with other cultures and how they work.”
Robert Rice, a junior history major, said, “I want to become a global studies major. ... I hope to continue studying archaeology at grad school. Combined with a minor in anthropology, I hope that the global studies major will put me on course to grad school and further degrees.”
The advisory council plans on including preexisting courses as part of the new major’s curriculum.
Some of these courses include Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology of the Globe, South American Archeology, Global Perspectives in Literature, Contemporary World Literature by Women and Postcolonial Literature.
Many students have shown interest in the new program, hoping that the courses will help them in their own majors and studies.
Stephanie Scanlon, a sophomore sociology major, said, “It’s good for incoming students who have a field of interest that the college doesn’t offer ... because then they can basically create their own major. That’s a really big selling point for high schoolers who are on the fence about continuing education.”
Ruby Mitchell, an undeclared sophomore, said, “You can really tailor it [the global studies major] to your specific interest or 1eld of interest, and I think something like that would be really appealing to students, like myself, who want a little more flexibility with their major.”
Kayla Brice, a sophomore sociology major, said, “It would be great for sociology majors who want to look through a wider lens of the human experience. ...We [students] will have a wider scope to look through to see how everything connects and intertwines, instead of just in the U.S.”
Lenell Wyman, a senior communication arts major, said, “I think it’s important for students to be informed about how closely the whole world is connected, and how it has greatly influenced cultures all around the world.”
Alberti said, “The major is really about allowing students to explore the world, but also to recognize that the world is happening here.”