WKU will celebrate International Education Week (IEW) Nov. 6-10 with a dynamic calendar of events that emphasize the importance of fostering cultural awareness and preparing WKU students to become productive, engaged and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society.
Initiated by the Departments of Education and State in 2000, IEW celebrates cultural diversity and international education exchange worldwide. While WKU’s past IEW calendars were largely populated by events outside of the classroom, this year’s planning committee is taking IEW in a new direction that aligns with its recently revamped objective: to provide events and programs that encourage the WKU community to engage with diverse cultures; participate in an intercultural dialogue; and learn about internationalization resources and opportunities.
This year’s lineup includes IEW’s newest, student-centered signature program, the IEW Dialogue Series. Originally conceptualized and coordinated by IEW Planning Committee members Dr. Jane Olmsted and Dr. Ted Hovet, the dialogue series was designed to spark students’ interest and curiosity in global affairs and cross-cultural issues, for them to gain knowledge about local and global communities, and for the WKU campus to discuss issues of power, privilege, diversity and equality.
The IEW Dialogue Series involves participating faculty facilitating a student-led discussion that is connected to a specific course and is prompted by an image, concept or phrase. These dialogue sessions are open to everyone, and topics in the series range from global business communication to cultural anthropology to U.S. and European immigration to international exports. (More: WKU CCSJ will open IEW Dialogue Series with Beyond the Dream on Nov. 6)
“We wanted the dialogue series to offer the campus community the opportunity to ‘think conversation,’ to enter into dialogue with each other, especially with our students who are leading the discussions, rather than to be passive recipients of others’ choreographed presentations (no matter how brilliant),” Dr. Olmsted said. “When it comes to intercultural education, dialogue is probably the most important way to learn and grow. It’s our hope that faculty will encourage their students to attend one of the conversations, and that everyone will use the IEW Dialogue Series to take a moment’s pause from our routines to explore the way our many worlds intersect.”
The Office of International Programs’ hope is that this series will also provide faculty a valuable and usable pedagogical technique for introducing global learning in the classroom. Moreover, by connecting the dialogue sessions to specific courses, the series intentionally prioritizes students by meeting them where they are at, and by opening up these classroom dialogues to a wider audience, engages the WKU community in the global learning experience.
A full list of dialogues is available on the IEW webpage.
Although the IEW lineup has shifted slightly, some events remain fixtures on the calendar, including WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places Series featuring a talk by Vanderbilt Professor Holly Tucker and a dance workshop by the National Dance Education Organization WKU student chapter. This year’s workshop will feature a Bosnian dance called the kolo, which is a group folk dance popular in the Balkans.
Aligning with IEW’s objective to provide campus opportunities to learn about internationalization resources, the Office of Study Abroad and the Center for Career and Professional Development are teaming up to provide one-on-one counseling for students with prior international study or work experience at their event Set Yourself Apart: Career Workshop for Study Abroad Alumni. The WKU student chapter Business Without Borders is also organizing the second annual International Business Forum, which provides students opportunities to learn from and network with local entrepreneurs within the global business environment.
For information on IEW events, visit www.wku.edu/oip/iew/iew2017.php
About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in a global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.
Contact: Anna Yacovone, (270) 745-3975