Higher Education News

How Elementary School Students Taught Me about Being Globally Competent

U.S. Department of Education Blog - November 19, 2015 - 7:16am

Marina in São Paulo, Brazil. She studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro during the spring of 2015. (Photo credit: Marina Kelly)

At age nine I had the chance to visit my father’s birthplace, a rural town in Guatemala surrounded by mountains. This trip, and many others that followed, would change the way I view the world and have inspired me to learn more about my heritage. Over the years, I have developed an affinity for international issues that led me to learn Portuguese and study abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Through these experiences, I learned important skills like flexibility, adaptability, open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, and I gained greater self-knowledge. I didn’t realize it, but I was learning to be globally competent.

The Global Competence Task Force, established by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Asia Society, defines globally competent individuals as people who can “use their knowledge and skills to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize their own and other’s perspectives, communicate their ideas effectively with diverse audiences, and translate their ideas into appropriate actions.”

During my first two-and-a-half years of college, I volunteered at a predominately Latino, bilingual elementary school in Washington, D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. Many of the students reminded me of myself, and some even had parents from Guatemala. But, unlike me, almost none of them had ever left the country, yet they were still very in touch with their heritage.

Marina with first grade students in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. (Photo credit: Marina Kelly)

These students taught me two things. First, I learned that you do not need to go overseas to be globally competent. While the students I worked with faced many obstacles, they had already mastered several globally competent skills. All of them had at least a basic proficiency in a second language and were familiar with other cultures. Schools across the nation like the one at which I worked are recognizing that global competencies are vital to succeeding in today’s diverse world and that these skills can be learned in the classroom.

The second lesson I learned is that having overseas experiences, too often, is a privilege – it is not an opportunity that is afforded to everyone. Coming from an underserved community, many of the students I worked with would be lucky to meet their extended family in Latin America, like I did. This led me to design a service project to teach these students about study abroad as part of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship I received to go to Rio.

Before interning in the International Affairs Office at ED, I knew I had learned these lessons, but I did not know how to articulate them. This semester, I have been fortunate to participate in discussions about the future of global competencies. Something that will really stick with me from these conversations is that global competencies are not add-ons or “nice-to-haves,” but rather, components of a quality education that all students need. As Secretary Duncan said in his statement on this year’s International Education Week, “Let’s work together … to make global competence the norm, not the exception.”

Marina Kelly is an intern in the International Affairs Office at the U.S. Department of Education and a Senior at American University.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Importance of an International Education for All Students

U.S. Department of Education Blog - November 19, 2015 - 6:09am

This week is International Education Week — a time when educators, administrators, students, and parents recognize and celebrate the importance of world language learning; study abroad; and an appreciation of different countries and cultures.

Recent tragedies throughout the world — including in Paris, Beirut, Yola, Sinai and Baghdad — serve as a reminder of our common humanity and our shared interest in building bridges of understanding.

For students who study a different part of the world, speak a second language, or study abroad, the experience can lead to a better appreciation of the complexity, challenges, and ambiguity, as well as the opportunities, of life in the 21st century.

These skills and aptitudes contribute to our young people’s global competency.

However, for too many of our students, global competencies — including mastery of a foreign language, cultural understanding that comes from studying abroad, or the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to solving global issues—are not always easy to obtain.

A continued lack of investment in world language programs and world area studies at the primary, secondary, and postsecondary levels have left many of our students behind the curve. Study abroad often also can be seen as a luxury and not as an essential and integrated part of an academic experience, even though research shows it can have a positive effect on college completion, especially for the most vulnerable students. The price of study abroad also can be prohibitive for students with modest means.

As important as global competencies are to building a robust educational experience for our students and increasing the cultural understanding of our people, they also are critical tools for individuals navigating a global job market. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that one in five American jobs is tied to global trade; and that number is expected to rise significantly in coming years.

As we work to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, it is imperative that the experience they have, whether it is during their K-12 years, at a community college, or at a four-year university, gives them the skills to succeed in our increasingly connected, 21st century global economy.

It’s almost a cliché these days to note how interconnected our world has become—but we must not take this powerful dynamic and its implications for the future of our young people for granted. It simply isn’t sufficient for a small business owner to have a basic understanding of accounting and management. Increasingly, she must think about where her product is sourced, the competition from overseas, and whether or not she can communicate across borders with suppliers who may not speak her language.

The engineer tasked with working on a construction project in Iraq has an infinitely more difficult job without an understanding of the Arabic language and the local culture. Similarly, here at home, our healthcare professionals are treating patients from around the globe, and a knowledge of world regions, cultures, and language can help them diagnose a rare condition, be more conscious of a patient’s cultural sensitivities, or simply communicate “you’ll be just fine” in another language.

As we celebrate international education this week and every week, we must ensure that all students leave our classrooms and campuses with the skills to work with their counterparts in other countries and in our own increasingly diverse communities, for a safer and more prosperous world.

Mohamed Abdel-Kader is Deputy Assistant Secretary for International & Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

How Mental-Health Care Entered the Debate Over Racial Inequality

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 19, 2015 - 1:55am
Minority students face unique psychological challenges, protesters and psychologists say, and so need unique mental-health services.
Categories: Higher Education News

Tuition Revenue Is Expected to Be Stagnant Again Next Year, Moody's Says

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 19, 2015 - 1:55am
In its annual tuition survey, the credit-rating service found both public and private colleges project about a 2-percent increase in net tuition revenue.
Categories: Higher Education News

4 Professors of the Year Are Honored for Excellence in Teaching and Service

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 19, 2015 - 1:55am
The winners of the annual awards were selected from nearly 400 nominees nationwide.
Categories: Higher Education News

'I'm Gonna Rise Above What I Was Doing'

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 19, 2015 - 1:55am
Chicago taught Tavaris Sanders how to survive among gang members. Is there room for him to thrive at a liberal-arts college?
Categories: Higher Education News

3 Ways the Education Dept. Stands Accused of Mismanaging Student Aid

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 19, 2015 - 1:47am
At a hearing, lawmakers, advocates, and investigators all criticized how the agency’s Office of Federal Student Aid serves students and taxpayers. Here’s a look at their arguments.
Categories: Higher Education News

For Students, Expectations About Academic Rigor Are Far From Universal

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 10:55pm
About half of all freshmen say their courses pushed them to do their best work, according to this year’s National Survey of Student Engagement.
Categories: Higher Education News

Harvard's Admissions Dean Shares Concerns About New Application

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 2:29pm
William R. Fitzsimmons told the student newspaper that the university considers the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success to be " a work in progress."
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Montana Plans to Eliminate 52 Faculty Jobs as Part of Budget Cuts

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 11:41am
The retrenchment is just a portion of the planned loss of 201 jobs at the university, its president announced on Tuesday.
Categories: Higher Education News

15% of Female Freshmen Are Raped While Incapacitated, Study Suggests

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 11:15am
The study, based on a survey of about 500 women at an unidentified university, also found 18 percent said they had been raped while incapacitated before college.
Categories: Higher Education News

After Decades of Hand-Wringing, U. of North Dakota Has a New Nickname

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 9:54am
"Fighting Hawks" emerged as the top vote-getter, beating out "Roughriders" to replace the longtime "Fighting Sioux" mascot.
Categories: Higher Education News

University Cancels Concert After Finding That Lil Wayne Never Agreed to Perform

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 9:12am
Alabama State University says it was duped by a third-party promoter, and would "vigorously investigate and pursue litigation as appropriate."
Categories: Higher Education News

Celebrating Disability as Diversity: The Importance of IDEA

U.S. Department of Education Blog - November 18, 2015 - 6:11am

Gallaudet University proudly celebrates diversity. Assistant Principal Heather Costner, Principal Debra Trapani, and ED intern Jacqueline Wunderlich pose on campus in front of the President’s house. (Photo credit: Jacqueline Wunderlich)

Imagine failing to respond to your own name.

Imagine going through school smiling and nodding and hoping nobody can see how little you really understand. Imagine struggling to survive school because it is not accessible.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for many students today. I know because this was my experience. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

At the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) in Washington, D.C., which serves students who are deaf and hard of hearing from birth to the eighth grade, Principal Debra Trapani strives to implement a philosophy of equity, acceptance, and celebration of diversity in every classroom. I recently had the privilege to shadow Debra during the Department of Education’s Principal Shadowing Week, and the stark difference from my own experience as a deaf student to the culture created for the students at this school was shocking. KDES is based on a foundation of bilingualism and biculturalism, promoting the equal usage of American Sign Language and English. Students here are proud to be deaf and hard of hearing, and of the culture and language that surrounds them.

Working in a school where every student has an individualized education plan, or IEP, may seem like a challenge to some educators, yet Debra looks at it as an opportunity. She is constantly moving from classroom to classroom, working with her teachers to support differentiated instruction that meets the needs of students, and encouraging her teachers to try new things. Collaboration is the key, Debra explained, crediting much of her school’s positive and welcoming culture to her leadership team and teachers.

As a deaf principal, Debra is a role model to her students, all of whom are determined to go on to college and have successful careers. These are dreams that might not have been possible years ago without the legislative turning points that were the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

As the nation celebrates IDEA’s 40th anniversary, it’s important to realize how far we’ve come. For example, in 1970, only one in five children with disabilities was educated in public schools. Today, more than 6.5 million students receive special education services. However, there is still much to be done to ensure each student is able to reach his or her maximum potential. Looking at schools like KDES can help show us what is possible.

Jacqueline Wunderlich is an intern in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education and junior at Gallaudet University.

Categories: Higher Education News

Applying for the Principal Ambassador Fellowship: Seeing Education from a Broader Perspective

U.S. Department of Education Blog - November 18, 2015 - 6:04am

ED’s Teacher Ambassador Fellows and Principal Ambassador Fellows working together.

I never imagined that one day I would be a Principal Ambassador Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education. When I look back to where I was a year ago, I was busy running my school—meeting with teachers, students, and parents. I was working with custodians to review blueprints of our newly renovated cafeteria. I was observing classes. And I was facilitating conflict resolution with my guidance counselor and our students.

One day last year, when I rode the train to work, I read my principals’ weekly newsletter and that’s where I first saw the information to apply to become a Teaching or Principal Ambassador Fellow. Although caught up in the day-to-day frantic pace of working in a school, I also am a learner. I am always reading education articles and thinking about what new ideas will help my students improve. I was interested in opportunities to learn and grow.

So, I applied.

Once in the thick of it, I realized that the application process was no joke. The written application required me to think strategically about who I am as an educator and what I have accomplished in my career. The phone interview that followed had me thinking on my feet, talking about what I believe matters in education and why being a fellow could make a bigger difference. The final round involved both an in-person, one-on-one interview and a fishbowl-style interview with other applicants. I had to exhibit all the skills needed to lead: communicate clearly, be a team player, and work in a fast-paced environment.

As a teacher, my first love was impacting my students in the classroom. Then, I found I could provide opportunities for all students’ learning by leading a school. Now, I am looking at what policies shape our educational landscape for the country. This is exciting work!

As a Principal Ambassador Fellow at ED, I get to share what has led me to be an educator for my entire career. It’s a unique opportunity, and well worth all the steps to get here. It’s why I want to pass the word along and encourage others out there to take a chance and apply.

Alicia Pérez-Katz is a 2015 Principal Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows are outstanding educators, with a record of leadership in their professional communities, strong communication skills, and insights on education policy based in their school and classroom expertise. Applications for the 2016 cohort of Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows opened on November 17, 2015 and will close on December 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM ET. For more information about the process, please thoroughly review the Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellowship webpages.

Categories: Higher Education News

When Choosing a College, How Should Students Gauge the Payoff?

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 1:55am
There's value in data that attempt to hold colleges responsible for what their students go on to earn. But making sense of that data requires context few high schoolers will sort out alone.
Categories: Higher Education News

At Kansas, Student Leaders Take the Blame for Racial-Climate Concerns

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 1:55am
Three student-government leaders are facing calls to resign after some of their peers criticized how they responded to activists’ demands.
Categories: Higher Education News

Colleges in Missouri Navigate an Uncertain Landscape for Undocumented Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 18, 2015 - 1:55am
The legislature has made children of illegal immigrants ineligible for state scholarships and in-state tuition rates. Colleges have limited options to help such students, but some are trying.
Categories: Higher Education News

Agencies’ Finding Eases Path to Debt Relief for Some Corinthian College Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 17, 2015 - 9:08pm
The U.S. Education Department and the California attorney general’s office determined that the for-profit education provider had inflated job-placement rates for students in its California and online programs.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Louisville Administrator Is on Leave After Alleged Improper Reimbursement

Chronicle of Higher Education - November 17, 2015 - 1:58pm
The director of alumni relations faces allegations that she used institutional funds to pay for trips to cities where she ran marathons.
Categories: Higher Education News


Subscribe to Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education aggregator - Higher Education News