Tag Archive for Center for Global Studies

Wesleyan Receives Major Grant to Teach Hindi and Urdu, Expand South Asian Programming

The annual Navaratri Festival is an example of Wesleyan’s long-time commitment to South Asian cultural programming.

Wesleyan has received a two-year $165,699 grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) program to support the teaching of Hindi and Urdu, the research of STEM faculty and students in India, and the increase of cultural programming related to South Asia.

“This grant will allow Wesleyan to become one of a very small number of liberal arts institutions in the country with classroom instruction in Hindi and Urdu,” said Stephen Angle, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies. “We are excited about the ability this grant will give us to support STEM faculty and students doing summer research in India as a way of growing opportunities for international experiences in the sciences. Together with our existing faculty strength in South Asian studies (currently nine faculty across the arts, humanities, and social sciences) and the president’s initiative to expand Wesleyan’s visibility in India, the new grant will help to further solidify Wesleyan as a leader in South Asian studies.”

Language Symposium Topics Intersect Language, Culture, Identity

Fengbeiling (Selina) Wang ’21 and Hongjia (Jane) Zhang ’21 spoke on “The Recognition, Mobility, and Transformation of Languages and Identities” during the two-day “Power of Language” symposium.

On April 6–7, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted “The Power of Language” symposium showcasing original performances and student/faculty presentations on the intersections of language, culture, and identity.

At the event, more than 20 panelists spoke on the topics of Shaping Identity Through Language, Moving Across Language, Power Dynamics of Multilingualism, Life in Translation, Ways of Teaching Language, Language and Politics, and Building Community Ties Through Language Learning. Several panelists were Wesleyan faculty and students.

Love of Language Learning Lies behind Upcoming Symposium

Jessica Chen '20, who can speak Engligh, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Italian, is co-organizing a language symposium titled "The Power of Language" to be held April 6–7 at the Fries Center for Global Studies. At this two-day symposium, participants will discuss language and culture, language and identity, second-language acquisition, language and technology, and other topics. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Jessica Chen ’20 is co-organizing a language symposium titled “The Power of Language,” to be held April 6–7 at the Fries Center for Global Studies. At this two-day symposium, participants will discuss language and culture, language and identity, second-language acquisition, language and technology, and other topics. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Jessica Chen ’20 is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, which is often spoken in her home city of Shenzhen, China. She started learning English before she entered Kindergarten.

She taught herself Korean in high school, speaks a local Chinese dialect common in her mother’s native area and is studying Italian at Wesleyan. She is not yet fluent in the latter, but hopes to be so before she graduates and possibly to pick up some other Romance languages as well.

Leverage Language Skills with Free Mango Platform

Care to brush up on your French? Learn Japanese? Or perhaps acquire a language that isn’t commonly taught at colleges, such as Danish?

Wesleyan is offering alumni and members of the on-campus community free access to the Mango Languages platform, says Antonio Gonzalez, professor of Spanish and director of the Fries Center for Global Studies. The platform provides high-quality online instruction in 72 languages, with an excellent blend of conversational language and cultural study. Gonzalez says that reception of Mango as a teaching and learning tool “has been very positive on campus” and that it is an attractive means for expanding the scope of Wesleyan’s language instruction.

“It’s crucial in any society for people to have intimate knowledge of different areas of the world, and not just in economically strong countries such as China,” he says. “An understanding of languages and cultures in Africa, Latin America and South Asia, for example, is essential in today’s interconnected world.”

Cultural Exchange Celebrated during International Education Week

From Nov. 13-17, Wesleyan students, faculty and staff participated in a rich agenda of on-campus events celebrating International Education Week.

International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences. At Wesleyan, events included a Study Abroad for the Sciences Fair, a discussion on exploring international opportunities, a Fries Center for Global Studies open house, an international student and faculty dinner, a Wes in the World Photo Contest, a “Food Around the World” luncheon, film screenings, information on Germany-U.S. opportunities and more.

The Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an open house on Nov. 13 and welcomed Wesleyan community members with an interest in international education and initiatives to stop by and learn more about the center.

The Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an open house on Nov. 13 and welcomed Wesleyan community members with an interest in international education and initiatives to stop by and learn more about the center. Pictured, Antonio Gonzales, director of the Fries Center and professor of Spanish, welcomed the attendees.

Winners of the Wes in the World Photo Contest Announced

On Nov. 13, the Fries Center for Global Studies announced the winners of the 2017-18 Wes in the World Photo Contest. More than 200 Wesleyan students, staff, faculty and alumni voted on 56 images in five different categories, including landscape, people, contemporary issues, daily life and sports.

Photographs were submitted by international students and U.S. students who studied abroad.

View the winners below. View the honorable mentions online here.

“Cinque Terre Town” by Natalie Strassheim, ‘18 / Manarola, Italy “I was ready to capture some of my own awesome photos by embarking on a solo trip. I remember, in Pompeii, saying farewell to my study abroad friends. I boarded the train, heading off to my next stop in Italy. This was the beginning to feeling independent. This was the start to feeding my wanderlust.”

BEST PHOTO OF LANDSCAPE: “Cinque Terre Town” by Natalie Strassheim ‘18, Manarola, Italy. “I was ready to capture some of my own awesome photos by embarking on a solo trip. I remember, in Pompeii, saying farewell to my study-abroad friends. I boarded the train, heading off to my next stop in Italy. This was the beginning to feeling independent. This was the start to feeding my wanderlust,” she said.

Language Experts Discuss Teaching, Researching, Assessing with Technology

On Oct. 19-20, Wesleyan hosted the New England Regional Association For Language Learning Technology (NERALLT) 2017 Conference. The event was held at the Fries Center for Global Studies in Fisk Hall and at Russell House.

On Oct. 19, in a “lighting round” format, speakers from Wesleyan, Yale University, Salve Regina University, Colby College, Boston University, Columbia University and the University of Connecticut discussed topics on language teaching, researching and assessing with technology. Talks focused on group-based learning tools, going beyond the classroom with technology, teaching language and multimodal literacies, simple tools for teaching language with technology and more.

On Oct. 20, guests from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst, MIT, Columbia University and Southern Connecticut State University led longer discussions. Topics included evaluating teacher tech literacies using an argument-based approach, the pros and cons to online discussion forums, language learning in a shared virtual space, connecting classrooms and communities with technology, and developing “Minecraft Memory Palaces” to teach French grammar and composition.

The conference concluded with a tour of Wesleyan’s language learning facilities.

Photos of the conference are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Antonio González, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and Professor of Spanish, welcomed the conference participants to Wesleyan. 

Antonio González, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and Professor of Spanish, welcomed the conference participants to Wesleyan.

Louise Neary, adjunct associate professor of Spanish and Ana Perez-Girones, adjunct professor of Spanish, shared how students at Wesleyan are building Spanish language portfolios using a Mahara language pack. Perez-Girones also led a discussion on Wespañol, an intermediate-level online program for independent learners.

Louise Neary, adjunct associate professor of Spanish and Ana Perez-Girones, adjunct professor of Spanish, shared how students at Wesleyan are building Spanish language portfolios using a Mahara language pack. Perez-Girones also led a discussion on Wespañol, an intermediate-level online program for independent learners.

Fries Center for Global Studies Dedicated

Provost Joyce Jacobsen, Michael Fries '85, Wesleyan President Michael Roth '78 and Professor Antonio Gonzalez participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 25 at the Fries Center for Global Studies. 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce Jacobsen, Board of Trustees member Michael Fries ’85, Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78, and Antonio Gonzalez, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and professor of Spanish studies, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 25 at the Fries Center for Global Studies.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni recently gathered for the dedication of the Fries Center for Global Studies.

The center, housed in Fisk Hall, includes the Office of Study Abroad; Fellowships, Internships and Exchanges; Language Resources and Technology; and Language and Intercultural Learning. The center was dedicated in recognition of the generosity of Board of Trustees member Michael Fries ’85, vice chairman and CEO of Liberty Global, and is committed to helping all members of the Wesleyan community achieve the knowledge, language skills, and sensitivity to exercise effective and responsible citizenship in an increasingly inter-dependent world.

“Our emphasis on intercultural communication, experience and knowledge reflects the value Wesleyan places on adaptability, compassion and cultural self-awareness with respect to the world beyond our borders,” said Antonio Gonzalez, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies, professor of Spanish studies. “These qualities and practices put Wesleyan’s liberal arts program at the forefront of global education and are the hallmark of responsible global citizenship.”

The center includes a large commons area, which can be used as a venue for special events. The area offers large displays for presentations or watching international events. Ample space is provided for students to study and convene in the commons area and in the Language Resources and Technology (LRT) area, which is located across the hall. The LRT area is a multipurpose space that provides flexible seating and is equipped with desktop computers and laptops to accommodate the needs of an entire class. The LRT space is staffed with student attendants and can be used as for teaching, testing, to conduct workshops and as a study space. The center also includes a multimedia classroom with telepresence equipment, which allows for easy collaboration with other schools in the U.S. and abroad. The center’s audio visual workroom enhances the center’s production capabilities with a recording studio, a digital editing workstation and a video production studio.

Photos of the dedication ceremony and the Fries Center for Global Studies are below. (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19 and Olivia Drake.)

Social Sciences in China Press Forum Focuses on Globalization

eve_chinapress_2017-0518063022 (1)From May 17-19, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted the Wesleyan University — Social Sciences in China Press Forum on Globalization.

The 18 conference participants — all faculty or research fellows — hailed from universities and academies in China, Germany and the U.S. Participants from Wesleyan included Lisa Dombrowski, professor of film studies; Don Moon, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Professor in the College of Social Studies, professor of history; William “Vijay” Pinch, professor of history, professor of environmental studies; and Paula Park, assistant professor of Spanish.

Wesleyan Receives Mellon Grant for Pedagogical Innovation

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The Center for Pedagogical Innovation and Lifelong Learning (CPI) helps faculty use new technologies to benefit their teaching. Antonio Gonzalez, professor of Spanish and director of the Center for Global Studies, uses videoconferencing technology in his class to connect with students in Madrid.

Antonio Gonzalez, professor of Spanish and director of the Center for Global Studies, is comfortably seated in front of a semicircle of 11 students. He holds an iPad Pro that controls two large screens on the wall behind him and enables him to move effortlessly, seamlessly from Google Maps, to video clips, to text he can annotate on the iPad. All the while he converses in Spanish with his students about a movie that tells the story of a Moroccan woman repatriating the body of her brother after he died crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in a small boat.

In another class, Gonzalez and a colleague in Madrid co-teach with the help of high-quality videoconferencing technology. (See article.)

“You can’t believe what a success my trans-Atlantic classroom arrangement has become. It was as if the students in Spain were here with us,” says Gonzalez. In one class, students in Spain conversed with peers in Middletown about why certain homicides in Ciudad Juarez had not been classified as terrorism. “Talk about interculturalism!”

Technology is helping Gonzalez to teach differently and more effectively. And that’s one goal of the Center for Pedagogical Innovation and Lifelong Learning (CPI), which has been working with faculty members on new techniques and pedagogical strategies.

Now the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given the CPI a major boost with a $750,000 grant to fund its activities for the next four and a half years.

Smith is New Associate Director of Fellowships, Internships, Exchanges

Kathleen “Kate” Smith is the associate director of fellowships, internships and exchanges for the Center for Global Studies. (Photo by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry '19)

Kathleen “Kate” Smith is the associate director of fellowships, internships and exchanges for the Center for Global Studies. (Photo by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)

In this Q&A we speak with Kathleen Smith from the Center for Global Studies. Smith helps identify and cultivate a global perspective that is meaningful to students, alumni, and faculty across the university. 

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan! When did you start?

A: My first day was Aug. 3, so I am still learning my way around campus!

Q: As the associate director of fellowships, internships and exchanges for the Center for Global Studies (located in Fisk Hall), what is your mission when working with students?

A: The role is a little bit of everything – fellowships, internships and exchanges – so I see myself as a resource to students (and in some cases alumni) depending on what they would like to accomplish. My goal when working with students is to help them navigate the numerous opportunities that exist. I see part of my role as supporting students (and alumni) in exploring various fellowship opportunities.

I will also promote partnerships with peer institutions in the United States and with targeted institutions abroad. Overall, my role within the Center for Global Studies is to identify and help cultivate a global perspective that will address what would be most meaningful to students, alumni and faculty across Wesleyan University.

Q: What is a typical day like?

A: At the moment, 9 to 5 is an orientation of Wesleyan. I have been meeting faculty, staff and deans from across campus because my work intersects with a few different areas. With students back on campus, I expect it to be more student-centric. I have begun to advise students and alumni on fellowships because deadlines are coming up.

Q: Wesleyan offers about 15 fellowship opportunities that require nomination from Wesleyan faculty or staff (including the Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Watson, Goldwater and the Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship, to name a few.) How do you assist students with this application process?

A: The process really varies from student to student. I provide a wide range of guidance: understanding what a fellowship is, offering feedback on a written statement, discussing how to ask for a letter of recommendation, providing insight about graduate school abroad,