Program Emphasizes International Activity

Program Emphasizes International Activity

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

At a time when graduate programs and the business community alike are clamoring for individuals with a broader world view, Boston College has established a new program to promote undergraduates' participation in international experiences, both academic and extracurriular.

Through the Global Proficiency program, students who study abroad, take several courses of an international nature, and pursue some form of cross-cultural activity or service will receive upon graduation a special transcript from the University. This transcript will provide potential employers or graduate school admission officers with a clear record of a student's interest in international issues and culture, according to University administrators.

Students who possess this marked interest in different cultures, and seek to demonstrate it inside and outside of the classroom, administrators say, will now have a blueprint for shaping their international experiences - and a means to offer these experiences as credentials.

Global Proficiency program coordinator Assistant Dean for Student Development Adrienne Nussbaum, left, and Center for International Studies graduate assistant Tony Sculimbrine. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"Rather than increase the workload or time commitment of students, the Global Proficiency program simply helps them to integrate their academic and non-academic international experiences," said Assistant Dean for Student Development Adrienne Nussbaum, who conceived the program and is its coordinator. "It documents and certifies their achievements in exploring cultural diversity, and thus presents them as persons who are well-equipped to meet the demands of an increasingly global society."

Applicants for the GP program, as it is familiarly known, have three components to fulfill. Students must visit a foreign country, whether through a study-abroad program or internship, or other programs that involve "substantial commitment" by the participant. The academic component includes two semesters of foreign language beyond the requirements of the undergraduate's school, plus at least two courses each in the humanities and in either social sciences, education or business of a multicultural or international scope.

GP program students also must participate in at least four extra-curricular activities with a multicultural or international focus. These might include living on a multicultural residence hall floor, serving as an ESL tutor, volunteering for a service project in a foreign country or an area with an extensive immigrant population.

Nussbaum says the GP program also reflects the University's goals of expressing internationalism in its research, curriculum and student programs. She points to the contributions of College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Clare Dunsford in the program's creation as an indication of its "holistic" character.

"The GP program represents a collaboration, in every sense of the word, between academic and student affairs," Nussbaum said. "It's a recognition of a person's accomplishments across a spectrum - not just involvement in a multicultural student club, or studies in a foreign language or literature, but a whole package."

"A student now has the opportunity to form a connection between his or her study-abroad experience and what is available here at BC," said Dunsford. "Most of the GP program's academic components simply ask for a more efficient organization of one's core requirements. Instead of choosing these courses haphazardly, the student can use the GP guidelines to bring a thematic unity to their courses."

Nussbaum notes that more than 70 students have already applied to the GP program, which is administered by the Center for International Studies. She expects as many as 12 seniors graduating in May will qualify for the program requirements and be issued transcripts, she said. A forthcoming World Wide Web site will provide information about the program for faculty, administrators, employers, and prospective students.


Return to April 13 menu

Return to Chronicle home page