CLAS Faculty Building Innovation In Global Student Engagement, Working With OIP, Partner Universities

CLAS faculty members are leaders among those throughout UNC Charlotte who persevered during the pandemic to provide their students with global learning, partnering with the Office of International Programs to pilot a new initiative called Globally Networked Learning (GNL).

The collaborative approach enables students, instructors and researchers from locations around the world to participate together in learning and knowledge creation. It provides students with access to virtual international experiences. It does this via cross-cultural discussions through a collaborative task, research projects or conferences and other activities. Class-to-class exchanges, virtual study abroad and internships, virtual research and other virtual engagement activities stand out as ways that students have gained global connections.

Examples at UNC Charlotte include a collaboration between faculty from UNC Charlotte’s Department of Languages and Culture Studies and the University of Cantabria, Spain where students were matched for language exchange. Another offering focused on dual-cohort graduate courses in the Department of Chemistry and the PhD in Nanoscale Science program which connected students in the U.S. to students in the Russian Federation.

In another approach, a partnership between the Department of Global Studies and Kingston University UK provided students the opportunity to help organize and present at the Human Rights Festival 2021: Human Rights in an Age of Polarisation and Disparities. Meanwhile, the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences receives data from a public health department at a university in Tanzania, and students and faculty plot the data to create GIS maps that show health-related trends.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic suspended travel opportunities last spring, our office sent a call to faculty to consider becoming a GNL partner in order to continue to provide students with global exchange opportunities,” said Joël Gallegos, Assistant Provost for International Programs. “Several faculty members stepped up to the challenge and have incorporated GNL in different ways. We are excited to see the high

The GNL initiative will be an ongoing offering in the Office of International Programs’ portfolio to help provide students with accessible international experiences whether they travel abroad or not, to help them prepare for a career in a multicultural workforce. CLAS faculty and leadership will continue their collaborations through this effort.