OWU launches Global Studies Institute
History professor Jeremy Baskes believes the letters OWU could stand for more than Ohio Wesleyan University these days. As director of the University’s new Global Studies Institute, Baskes proposes: “One World United.”
“OWU is rich in faculty resources with global focus,” says Baskes, who joined the University in 1993. “The institute helps unify these expertises. The result will be an even more interdisciplinary and global curriculum than that which already exists here.”
The OWU Global Studies Institute was created in August with a four-year, $135,000 Innovation Fund grant awarded to Ohio Wesleyan by the Global Crossroads Initiative of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
Beginning in Fall 2017, the institute will launch a competitive Global Scholars Program to support students pursuing internationally-focused studies. Baskes says he hopes to welcome 15 to 20 incoming students into the inaugural class of Global Scholars. In their first year, these students will enroll in a full-credit Global Studies Freshman Seminar. The topic of the team-taught seminar will vary each year, with the 2017-18 course set to focus on “Borders: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Citizenship.” This fall’s seminar will be taught by Shari Stone-Mediatore, professor of philosophy, and Richelle Schrock, associate professor of women’s and gender studies.
Ohio Wesleyan’s Global Scholars also will be required to take four semesters of foreign language – a full year more than required of other students. “As Global Scholars,” Baskes says, “they can never be too competent in a language.”
In either their junior or senior year, all OWU Global Scholars will receive a $4,000 grant to support an international research or study project. The scholars also may use the funds during their requisite semester study abroad.
As seniors, the scholars will be required to complete a capstone project, either a thesis or similar assignment in their major. If they meet all of the institute’s requirements, their Global Scholar status will be designated on their transcripts.
In addition to Baskes, the OWU Global Studies Institute is being overseen by two assistant directors: Nathan Amador, assistant professor of geology and geography, and Mary Anne Lewis, assistant professor of modern foreign languages.
Baskes says now is the perfect time for Ohio Wesleyan to create a Global Studies Institute and launch a Global Scholars Program. “Americans historically live sheltered from the rest of the world,” he says, “a condition that is increasingly at odds with our globalized planet. This program takes students who have demonstrated interest in other cultures and brings them together on our campus under the umbrella of the Global Scholars Program.”