Global Engagement Certificate
April 29, 2013
One of the most important things for students upon graduation is feeling ready to enter the "real world". For students, the real world could be anything from entering the job force, studying at graduate school, or even living abroad. Employers expect a variety of things from their new hires, including an ability to write and communicate efficiently, work with many different kinds of people, and adapt to new, and sometimes stressful, situations. UW-Whitewater strives to help students be prepared for the transition from graduation to employment in many ways by offering critical elements of a liberal education, but one of the most concrete is through the new Global Engagement Certificate being offered through the College of Letters and Sciences.
The Global Engagement Certificate, or GEC, is a new certificate on campus open to all undergraduates that is independent from any degree program offered at UW-Whitewater and is designed to complement any major or minor. The GEC centers on becoming a global citizen who is able to communicate in another language, prepared to work in a different cultural setting, and ultimately becomes part of the international workforce.
"Numerous studies indicate that study abroad is a transformative experience in itself, but the GEC allows the students to demonstrate and helps them articulate the long-term, positive effects of such sustained interaction," said Matt Lange, associate professor of German and one of the faculty helping to develop curriculum and outcomes for students from the certificate.
To prepare students, the GEC focuses on developing and demonstrating essential competencies that are tracked using an ePortfolio. The GEC is one of the only certifications currently available at UW-Whitewater that offers an opportunity to archive valuable pieces of acquired knowledge and international experiences using ePortfolios. Electronic portfolios, known as ePortfolios, are digital collections of artifacts that showcase a student's talents, skills, and abilities. To complete the Global Engagement Certificate, students assemble portfolios that show that they have skills and abilities that will enable them to be globally aware employees and citizens able to interact with people around the world.
"The GEC ePortfolio presents artifacts that demonstrate skills and global experiences in a portable, compact fashion," said Lange. "The students package a snapshot of coursework, interaction, reflection, second language proficiency, and international study in a multimedia format to provide prospective employers with glimpse of what GEC holders can accomplish and have already attained," said Lange.
The GEC will require students take a variety of courses already available through other internationally focused degrees, including the International Studies major, the College of Business' International Business major, or Communication's International Journalism major. Students will also have the opportunity to be immersed in a college level foreign language, including four semesters of French, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, or German. To top it off, the GEC also incorporates a study abroad program at various other universities affiliated with UW-Whitewater from around the world for 6 weeks or longer. The most convenient part about the GEC is that students can actually combine their degree requirements with those of the certificate if they overlap to complete both simultaneously.
"The students enrich not only their own academic experience but also the campus in general by engaging in and raising awareness of global issues," said Lange.
Taking these experiences and composing them into usable artifacts to put into ePortfolios effectively prepares students for a of variety of post-graduation opportunities by being able to present tangible evidence of their studies and engagement while at UW-Whitewater. Artifacts can include reflective essays, digital stories or videos, study abroad and language experiences, participation in community service events, and previously created course presentations and papers.
"The outcomes of the GEC expand the horizons of students by having them engage with global issues in another country and on campus; it enables them to communicate more effectively and understand an increasingly international world," said Lange.
If you want to learn more about the Global Engagement Certificate or begin a global journey during your undergraduate career by looking at opportunities with an advisor, visit http://www.uww.edu/cls/global-engagement.
Written by Eleanor Jacobson, L&S Media Spotlight Writer