Campus units receive funding for global studies programs

The Center for Global Studies wants campus units to add international flavor to their focus.

The center is one of eight global studies centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education through Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The center provides federal grants to units so they can add new degree programs and courses or sponsor workshops and conferences that incorporate global studies, said Edward Kolodziej, the center’s director. The deadline for proposals is May 4.

“We want to reach as many faculty and students as possible,” he said.

Steve Witt, associate director for the Center of Global Stories, said the center usually speaks to various campus units and faculty who are already conducting research or want to in the area of global studies. The center encourages units to fill out a proposal to receive federal grant money.

The center then gathers all the submitted proposals and organizes them according to their theme, Kolodziej said. This theme can include topics such as homeland security or climate change.

The center will be re-applying to maintain its status as a distributor of federal grant money for the 2010-2014 period in fall 2009, he said.

“Every four years, all universities compete to be recognized as a resource center in global or international studies,” Kolodziej said. “Not everyone gets recognition.”

The center also provides Foreign Language Area Studies fellowships to professional or graduate students studying a less commonly-known foreign language, such as Arabic, Hindi or Chinese, he said.

The fellowships provide a full tuition and fee waiver, Witt said. There are currently eight academic-year fellowships at the University, but the center received about 60 applicants.

“We want students committed to learning a language,” he added. “We’re trying to encourage more applicants from the professional schools.”

When professional students graduate, they will be specifically addressing issues that face the global community. Their studies are problem-oriented, Kolodziej said.

“They’re getting a degree to go out and provide service,” he added. “They’re dedicated to public service.”

Nathan Uchtmann, a recipient of the fellowship, is studying Swahili since he visited Kenya, where it is the official language.

“It seemed to make sense for me,” he said. “I’d been to Kenya a few times, learned a little, but I wanted something more formal.”

Uchtmann said that he is not exactly sure what he will be doing when he graduates, but he hopes to fully incorporate the education he has received.

“I hope to work internationally in a field built on the education I’ve gotten,” he said. “I’m interested in human rights, health care, work that touches on the environment and education.”