Ethical Global Engagement and Large Institutions

Attendance at AAC&U’s national conference pushed me to specify the processes we have in place at Haverford College to support ethical global engagement and how those processes are distributed not only within Center for Peace and Global Citizenship staffing, but also across engaged faculty scholarship. I spent the previous fifteen years working to coordinate and support ethical engagement from and in collaboration with large R1 campuses. So I recognize how some of the opportunities I’ve been sharing can seem particular to a small liberal arts setting. I’m thinking now about the highly individualized counseling process and faculty-mentored, community-driven, engaged scholarship. But large institutions are leading in vital ways. The University of Minnesota Pre-Health Student Resource Center has a Preparing for Ethical Choices Abroad overview as well as links to a Toolkit for Pre-Health Advisors and a free, online, open-access module for (any) students preparing for an international health-related experience. The module was developed to incorporate best practice guidelines while supporting students in ethical experiential learning. Here’s a screen shot: Check it out at the link. As you’ll see it’s extraordinary. But we also know that if knowledge availability was enough to spark change we’d live in a different world. How do you shift the discourse in a large institutional system so that everyone from Pre-Health Advisors to Introduction to Biology Adjuncts to Student Club Leaders knows that there are ethical challenges and resources relating to global engagement? The folks at UMN have been working and leading on that question too. That’s why Shailey Prasad, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, and Tricia Todd, MPH, Interim Director, Pre-Health Student Resource Center, both of the University of Minnesota are among the featured Plenary Speakers at the 6th Global Service-Learning Summit at Clemson University in early November. They’ll further unpack their organizing insights, along with colleagues form Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland-Baltimore. Of course many other institutions have worked at the large systems question. The IUPUI Center for Service and Learning made a concise advising sheet, “7 Red Flags: Tips for International Volunteering” that it distributed across campus. Roger Williams University, the University of Dayton, and Northwestern University have all developed Fair Trade Learning Communities of Practice. The University of Dayton is actually convening a resulting institute in May: Community-Campus Partnerships for Global Learning and Human Rights. The goals of the institute “are to deepen participants' community-campus partnership practices for reciprocity and to advance community and student outcomes for community-based global learning around the world.” From Study Abroad Offices, many large institutions are now utilizing the Community Engagement, Service-Learning, and Volunteer Experiences guidelines from the Forum on Education Abroad. Of course, we continue to collect and make available various Fair Trade Learning Resources to support ethical engagement across community-campus collaborations. If you're aware of other large system approaches to ensuring ethical global engagement, please send me an email about them or consider writing a guest post.  Next week: