Three years ago, Arcadia University was selected as one of eight institutions to work together to create a toolkit featuring videos, graphics, and other resources for fostering collaborations between internationalization and multicultural/diversity education on campuses. The initiative, called At Home in the World: Educating for Global Connections and Local Commitments, is a joint effort between the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Inclusive Excellence Group and the Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement and The Henry Luce Foundation, which released the toolkit on Jan. 29 as the culmination of eight years of research and work.
The initiative’s conceptual framework holds that while internationalization and diversity/multicultural education are not the same and should remain distinct, they share significant common ground and goals, are well suited for collaboration, and neither is complete without considering the other.
Dr. Jeff Shultz, professor of education, and Dr. Ellen Skilton-Sylvester, director of global connections and chair of the Department of Curriculum, Cultures, and Child/Youth Studies at Arcadia, are featured on the toolkit’s website, discussing the impact of Arcadia’s curriculum on students’ global perspectives. The site also provides communication strategies, planning processes, and models to assist campuses in fostering collaboration between international and multicultural/diversity educators, administrators, and offices.
“What we’re seeing is students who are understanding connections between the United States and the rest of the world in ways that they didn’t before,” said Shultz, citing a course he teaches on baseball and one Skilton-Sylvester teaches on immigration. “Students walk out of those classes having a much richer and more comprehensive knowledge of how the two fit together and the fact that pulling them apart is an artificial act.”
Skilton-Sylvester also raised the issue that many students are unable to study abroad for a semester and the fact that many students bring rich multicultural experiences with them to campus, saying, “One of the things we’re tapping into now is the very dynamic, exciting things that can happen locally that are also connected to the world.”
The other institutions selected to work on the toolkit were Alliant International University in California, Bennett College in North Carolina, Grossmont–Cuyamaca Community College District in California, Mercy College in New York, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and Washington State University.