Students, be prepared to go global.
Every 10 years, the University must submit a Quality Enhancement Plan to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as part of the ongoing reaccreditation process. A draft of the QEP is expected to be finished this month, and the University hopes to submit the final plan in February.
The QEP, titled "Global Duke: Enhancing Students' Capacity for World Citizenship," will introduce three new programs to the University. Two of the programs, the Global Semester Abroad and the Winter Forum, are curricular components. The third, the Global Advising Program, is an addition to the University's infrastructure.
Prasad Kasibhatla, associate dean for international programs at the Nicholas School of the Environment and co-chair of the QEP committee, said the programs "grew organically" from discussions that started more than a year ago with campus leaders, student groups, faculty and administrators.
"The idea was that it has to be based on some needs assessment... but also dovetail with other things that are going on, the strategic plan and stuff like that," he said. "Duke is making a pretty strategic push from an internationalization perspective.... There's also a lot of Duke activity going on internationally at the undergraduate level-there's DukeEngage, there's study abroad, there's all kinds of things. And somehow we felt that if we could capitalize on all of those and fill some niche that's not being covered, that would be a really great thing to do."
Gilbert Merkx, vice provost for international affairs, has been working with subcommittees and leaders within the QEP committee to help direct the international aspect of the programs. He said the council originally wanted to help students to flourish in a 21st-century world, which led them to focus on globalization.
"What they essentially said was, 'If we're talking about preparing students for the 21st century, then we're really preparing students to live in the globalized world,'" Merkx said. "A Duke education should at least offer global dimensions-not just regional, not just national, but global. I am delighted with that because I think it's an accurate understanding of how the challenges for education have changed from even the 20th century, when there were some international aspects but it was not nearly as global."
The QEP calls for the implementation of the Global Semester Abroad, an opportunity for students to study global issues on location-one group of 30 students would study in one country for six weeks, then switch locations with the other group of 30 students for the remaining six weeks of the semester. Students would take two courses taught in English at each location and participate in mandatory cultural and educational experiences outside the classroom.
The Global Semester Abroad is designed to compliment study abroad by giving students an opportunity to study a global issue in an internationally comparative way and will ideally be run by the Office of Study Abroad.
Provost Peter Lange compared the Global Semester Abroad to a "focus group on wheels."
"My anticipation is for these six weeks in each site, students will be brought into contact with local experts, be taken to visit and learn more about how problems are engaged with on the ground and learn more about how the interdisciplinary approaches they're learning about in the classroom happen on the ground," he said.
The QEP also calls for more domestic opportunities for students to discuss international issues. The Winter Forum would be a two-and-a-half day, on-campus retreat for students to delve into a globally significant issue identified by the host school. Responsibility for the Winter Forum would rotate through the University's institutes and schools each year and would ideally be held at the end of Winter Break beginning January 2010.
The Winter Forum will hopefully give students who do not have the opportunity to go abroad the chance to use interdisciplinary approaches to study global issues, Lange said.
Merkx said that although the Global Semester Abroad and the Winter Forum are innovative programs, student demand for them is difficult to predict. He added that the Global Advising Program-a four-year plan for students to make the most of their international opportunities-will probably have the greatest long-term impact because the advisers will be able to reach more students and encourage them to participate in the other globally oriented programs.
"There are so many opportunities, and the way you put those together is something that's a pretty complicated set of options," Merkx said. "So what incoming students will need is a road map for how they can do things."
Housed in the Academic Advising Center, the Global Advising Program would ideally hire three advisers by August 2009 who would begin advising students in Spring 2010. These advisers will help students-including populations like athletes and engineers who often cannot go abroad-participate in international opportunities that fit their needs, said Mary Boatwright, professor of classical studies and co-chair of the QEP committee. The advisers would also work with peer advisers, first-year advisory counselors and academic advisers to increase outreach to students.
Lange, Merkx, Kasibhatla and Boatwright emphasized that the QEP will only offer additional opportunities to students-it will not replace existing programs, nor will it meet all of the University's strategic goals.
Even so, Boatwright said the QEP is an extension of the University's preexisting mission and interests that will help Duke and its students interact as global citizens in the 21st century.
The three QEP programs currently do not have an estimated cost, Boatwright said at a Nov. 20 Academic Council meeting.
"You don't want it to be same-old, same-old.... But you do want it to not come out of the blue," Boatwright said. She noted that the University's goals moving forward include "greater Duke presence abroad and also in local arenas and greater understanding of the world outside our Gothic walls."