The Colgate Scene
November 2004

A message from president Rebecca S. Chopp
Fostering world citizen-leaders

A visit to the British Museum was part of the London-English Study Group led by Professor George Hudson.

Participants in the fall 2003 Madrid Study Group get a lesson in the preparation of paella at the home of a host family. [Photos by Timothy D. Sofranko]

In their recently published book Confronting Reality, Colgate alumnus Larry Bossidy '57 and his co-author Ram Charan maintain that in the 21st century leaders must constantly engage in an iterative process of asking and answering difficult questions with out-of-the-box thinking in the context of the global reality. What Bossidy and Charan prescribe for business can be applied to every aspect of our civic and professional lives: to understand reality, one must now think within and about the global nature of our society. Equally important is the realization that the citizen-leaders that Colgate takes pride in fostering must now be world citizen-leaders.

"Confronting reality" could easily describe the impact of Colgate's commitment to internationalization. Since 1934, when Colgate sent its first study group to Washington, D.C., Colgate faculty members have insisted that a liberal arts education include exposure to, exploration of, and expertise in, the world beyond Colgate. Last summer, John Crespi, Henry R. Luce Assistant Professor of Chinese language and culture, his wife May Liu, and Ray Nardelli, senior instructional technology analyst, traveled to China with 19 students who conducted interdisciplinary research on the shaping of Beijing. Visits to the Beijing Opera, Tiananmen Square, the beautiful Summer Palace and its imperial gardens, marketplaces, Chinese schools, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and many other places set the stage as each Colgate student made a video that served as a tool for research and communication on a particular topic. The three goals of our new strategic plan concerning research, communication, and community all blended together as students prepared their videos and returned to Colgate to share their experiences and conclusions with the campus community.

With two-thirds of our students participating in off-campus study experiences, Colgate is a leader among liberal arts institutions for our global approach to education. The Institute of International Education ranks Colgate second among American baccalaureate institutions in terms of the number of students studying abroad. Colgate now offers a total of 24 semester-long study groups and four to six extended study courses per year. From Australia to the Dominican Republic, from China to Italy, from India to France, from Russia to Japan, students study philosophy, international relations, science, history, and many other subjects. Feel free to be very proud of this program: our peer institutions offer two, or six, or at most 16 such programs a year; none offer the number or breadth of programs and opportunities that we provide our students. We really do live out our commitment to educate students for world leadership.

I continue to be amazed by another exceptional, indeed, unusual, fact about our programs: Colgate faculty members uproot their lives (and, in many cases, their families) to take our students for a semester off campus. At most educational institutions, faculty members teach courses in off-campus programs, but it is staff members who travel with the students. And at many institutions, students must travel with third-party programs if they want a study-abroad experience. Colgate faculty members, on the other hand, travel with our students so that study abroad becomes a wonderful experience in community, communication, and enhancing discovery and creativity. Off-campus study becomes an opportunity for students to expand their relationships with their own professors. We should take great pride in the fact that we are a leader in international programs because of our professors' willingness to live out this commitment by engaging with our students around the world as well as at Colgate.

Colgate benefits from our international programs in many ways. When Chris Burns '05 returned from our study group in India last fall, he brought back 200 pounds of cricket bats, balls, stumps, pads, and gloves, which he donated to Colgate to start a cricket team! After Aubrey Graham '06 returned from our extended study program in South Africa, she prepared a research proposal that would allow her to return and continue her work. Graham became an articulate spokesperson in the Colgate community about African issues.

Needless to say, I am bragging about our program, our commitment, our faculty, and our students. But learning to live and lead in a global environment is a moral and professional benefit and obligation for Colgate students. Not only do our students have memorable experiences, form lasting friendships with people from around the world, and learn all sorts of things about new places through our international programs, they are also well on their way to becoming global leaders who know how to confront reality.

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