Education aim to get worldly

Matt Harkins, Circulation Director

A 13-month-old memo from the Pitt-Oakland provost reminded all campus officials that global competence is to be established as academic outcome for all undergraduate students.

At Pitt-Johnstown, a draft plan was developed by division chairs to begin to account for global competence acquisition among students, by combining Student Life events and courses to document competency.

“(Jan. 18), I presented the draft plan to faculty senate for their review and input,” said Academic Affairs Vice President Janet Grady.

“We will be implementing the Global Competency Plan next academic year.  But it is not at this point a new requirement for general education.”

The plan may have been developed in response to a mandate from the Provost, but many of the faculty agree that encouraging the development of global competence in students is an important and worthwhile goal, Grady said.

Faculty, staff and students will have input into the plan’s implementation and evaluation moving forward, according to Grady.

Global engagement already exists as a goal in the Real World Action program administered by Student Life.

“The new (academic) Global Competency Plan will strengthen this component of the (Student Life) Real World Action program by adding an academic component,” Grady said.

“Students will be able to achieve points in this area through a combination of curricular and extra-curricular activities, such as attending a global-themed event or taking a global-themed course.”

The Office of Student Life and its Real World Action program always have been integrated with each other in activities on campus, according to Student Life Director Sherri Rae.

“(With the Global Competency Plan), there will be a stronger connection between Student Life and faculty,” said Rae.

Keeping track of events and activities will be similar to how it’s done now with the Real World Action program.

“It is likely that students will be allowed to use swipe card (registration) for some events and self-report for others,” said Grady.  “It is also likely that we will enlist help from the Registrar’s Office and others to track successful completion of specified coursework and other projects.”

Program sponsors identify which part of the Real World Action program an activity fits into, according to Rae.

Student Life administrators also are to coordinate with the Registrar’s office to include Real World Action program global-engagement points to count toward global academic competency.

“We will receive coursework from the Registrar for certain activities that will require it for the education side of the program,” said Rae.

Some details of the plan are still being finalized.