by Laura Huenneke, Provost 

Our recent spring break evokes thoughts of travel, and it’s an ongoing theme. A couple of the deans are with Vice Provost Harvey Charles in China this week, while many students and faculty are busily preparing for summer travel and experiences abroad.

All this causes me to reflect upon why we have emphasized global education and the high goals we have set for our students.

Drop by and chat
Bean & Beaker, North Campus, 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 3.

NAU’s Global Learning Initiative commits us to preparing our students to be globally competent, focusing on three specific thematic learning outcomes: learning to analyze and evaluate the interconnectedness of the human experience on a global scale; understanding perspectives on creating sustainable futures; and developing a critical understanding of multiple aspects of diversity. This focus on the richness of global cultures and human diversity is one of the distinctive values of an NAU education for our students.

Our institution’s accomplishments in international education have been recognized with national awards. Part of the distinction is the commitment to weave the global learning outcomes not just into general education or liberal studies but also into the experiences of students in each of our disciplines and degree programs.

As a recent post in the Chronicle of Higher Education points out, assessing what students actually gain from their study abroad or internationalization experience is something many institutions haven’t yet tackled. This week’s Assessment Fair demonstrates that as a campus we are carrying out the hard work of measuring the impact of many of our efforts. I’m grateful to be part of a community willing to hold ourselves accountable.