The Global Initiative: Future Directions and Challenges

There are many new global education efforts underway. We are creating partnerships for new semester-long programs in London, Rome and Buenos Aires. The new Global at Home alternative semester is a multidisciplinary immersion program that combines coursework in Spanish with direct engagement—for example, mentoring in organizations serving Delaware’s Latino community. And the Office of Service Learning is partnering with Break Away to offer students alternative global spring break programs.

ELI will launch a First-Year Experience seminar in spring 2011, while IGS will this fall launch a new website. Across campus, colleges are developing academic partnerships that include joint conferences, performances, research centers, study-abroad programs, dual degrees and exchange programs for faculty and students. The Area Studies Programs and IGS are working together to secure funding to support the development of National Resource Centers and other multidisciplinary educational programs.

While enormous progress has been made, there remain significant infrastructure weaknesses and obstacles at different levels across the University. These include deficiencies in staffing, professional development and cross-cultural training, advising and IT (SEVIS). Prior to the current economic crisis, UD’s study-abroad program experienced 10 years of significant growth—a 120-percent climb in the number of students participating. With changes in the University’s budget system, it will be important to ensure that resources are available to maintain program flexibility and to invest in new program development.