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International Partnerships

The Global Humanities Institute supported the travel of 45 faculty, staff and administrators over three years, to China, India, and El Salvador. In preparation for this travel, the Global Humanities Institute developed partnerships with academic institutions in each of the focus countries.

The travel provided members of the Montgomery College community with firsthand knowledge of cultures and peoples abroad and brought that knowledge to bear on our work at the College. Through these travel opportunities we initiated discussions with fellow humanities faculty abroad through consortia to learn of the cultural value and applications of these disciplines in academic, personal, and professional settings. We also provided entities at our partner nations with information and services that benefitted their academic and related programs.

Our ultimate goal is for these travel opportunities to continue with other nations and cultures toward enhanced relationships that will make possible student and faculty exchanges, co-teaching, and other ventures.

Nations and Dates

  • China: March, 2016
  • India: March, 2017
  • El Salvador: March, 2018

Background

The Global Humanities Institute provided faculty and selected staff with opportunities to gain first-hand international educational experience thanks to our partnerships with universities abroad.  This travel was supported in part by a “Bridging Cultures” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Montgomery College Foundation. Our charge was to introduce global perspectives in the humanities through faculty development that included educational travel abroad as well as educational programing and fellowships.

The Global Humanities Institute led trips to China, El Salvador, and India, countries with which we have academic partnerships. Our partnership in China is with Xian University of Arts and Sciences, a publicly funded institution with a comprehensive academic program. All travel programs took place during our spring break, with an additional two workdays tagged on.

The travel supported the direct cultural experience of the Montgomery College participants who witnessed the realities of the countries we visited so that we may know them more deeply, particularly at a time when sources of information are often mediated or unreliable. Therefore, in addition to Xian (home of the Terracotta Warriors), we visited Beijing, Hong Kong, and Macau. 

The most important component of this travel was meeting with faculty, staff and administrators at our partner institutions to discuss the role of the humanities in higher education and in culture there, and whether/how they teach from a global perspective. These exchanges created new knowledge for both sides and led to sharing of goals, concerns, ideas and strategies for the benefit of our students.

Agreements to Extend the Learning

We want to optimize the impact of this travel on our work in the classroom and our campuses. Post-travel debriefings helped us share what we learned with our colleagues and students. Travelers sponsored by the GHI agreed to disseminate the new knowledge and gained during the to our community benefit. Reports by travelers may include a new assignment inspired by the trip, new course content, a video that narrates one’s experience, as well as conference presentations, additional research, and college presentations on topics relevant to the global humanities.

MC Delegation in China
Memorandum of Understanding with Xian University

In September 2013, Dr. DeRionne Pollard, Montgomery College president; Dr Judy Ackerman, vice president and provost at the Rockville Campus; Dr Rita Kranidis, professor of English and director of the Global Humanities Institute (GHI); and other members of the College attended a meeting that forged a relationship with Xian University in Xian, China, home of the terracotta warriors.

The partnership was initiated by Dr. Kranidis in the fulfillment of the institute's grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Montgomery County, which has selected Xian for its Sister Cities program, assisted with this effort in many ways.

The Memorandum of Understanding includes provisions for a series of seminars and colloquia between humanities faculty at Xian University and Montgomery College, to be carried out when the GHI will sponsor travel to China for fifteen faculty, staff, and administrators. Topics for these discussions will include the cultural value of the humanities in China and in the United States, views on need for global curricula, and public arts and humanities programs. Additionally, the MOU opens the possibility of future student and faculty exchanges. Xian University has a strong commitment to history, cultural preservation and study, and is thus the ideal partner for the work of the Global Humanities Institute.

Opportunities

Xian University Sabbatical Leave (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

Montgomery College announced an exciting new option for sabbatical leave, a residency at our partner institution, Xian University of Arts and Sciences in China. This opportunity provided valuable cultural experience and academic collaboration to support faculty development, thus enriching the learning experience of our students.

China Resources (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

Related Events

Reports from Faculty Travelers to China

Sixteen members of the Montgomery College community traveled to China this March as part of the Global Humanities Institute’s “Seminars Abroad” initiative, to participate in a series of discussions with faculty at Xian University of Arts and Sciences. Hear about and their experiences and discoveries at academic colloquia at Xian University. Learn about their research projects as independent scholars and thinkers whose aim is to bring global knowledge back to MC and to their students. Multicultural training credit, video and posters, resource Handouts, one-on-one conversations with travelers, discussions, Chinese refreshments!

Faculty Work
GHI Seminars Abroad—El Salvador

The Global Humanities Institute announced an opportunity for faculty and selected staff to gain first-hand international educational experience thanks to our partnerships with universities abroad. This travel is supported by a “Bridging Cultures” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Montgomery College Foundation. Our charge is to introduce global perspectives in the humanities through faculty development that includes educational travel abroad as well as educational programing and fellowships. The Global Humanities Institute  lead trips to China [March 2016], India [March 2017], and El Salvador [March 2018], countries with which we have academic partnerships. 

 

MC group in El Salvador
Bringing Home El Salvador, April 2018

Seventeen MC faculty, staff and administrators traveled to El Salvador during spring break as the final trip in the Seminars Abroad program. Through Seminars Abroad, a key component of the GHI's National Endowment for the Humanities grant-funded work, members of our community exchange ideas with our colleagues abroad and the GHI builds partnerships supporting future collaborations. Previously, different sets of travelers visited China and India. All destinations are also Sister Cities of Montgomery County. El Salvador is especially important right now given the problems with immigration regulations. 

The group of travelers participated in cultural education programs such as paying homage to slain civilians in El Mozote, Morazan and visiting other sites of cultural and historical importance. Meetings with Morazan government officials and youth organization leaders provided important information on the work being done to meet the growing needs of youth and the community at large. Morazan is the Sister City of Montgomery County, as are the other counties with which the GHI has academic partnerships. 

The group also visited a prison in El Salvador of 5,000, where inmates study English, Communications, Technology, as well as trades like hair cutting, woodwork, and tailoring. Inmates, who are by and large under 19 years old, also study music and visual art. "Yo Cambio," the organization that supports this work, is affiliated with the University of El Salvador, a partner of the Global Humanities Institute. 

The academic component of this trip included several meetings with faculty and students at the University of El Salvador and our new partner, the University of Central America. Discussions at these meetings focused on how higher education and specifically the Humanities can respond to global concerns. Many among our travelers forged individual connections with faculty whose teaching corresponds with theirs and with whom they can continue to collaborate in future. 

The Seminars Abroad program ensures that we forge substantial connections with institutions of higher learning abroad. These connections will impact our teaching, our students' learning, and our campus communities. Travelers are already working on selections from their travel journals and creating teaching materials that will be made broadly available through the GHI website. Through these intimate collaborations, we bring the world into our classrooms to better prepare our students for their roles as global citizens. 

MC group posing in front of presidential portraits
Collaboration with Universidad de El Salvador

For more than two weeks in July 2013, three faculty members of the Global Humanities Institute workgroup traveled in El Salvador, forging connections and relationships that will bring a new level of education to the people of the state of Morazán.

Travel to El Salvador is an integral part of the Global Humanities Institute's project, with plans in place for 16 faculty, staff and administrators to travel to the country in 2016. The purpose of that travel, as with the GHI's other destinations, China And India, is to hold collegial seminars on the role of world humanities in higher education and in culture. However, this recent trip was in response to a visit from the governor of Morazán, who sought our assistance with the creation of a two-year college in that state.

Over the course of 19 days, Rita Kranidis, Director of the Global Humanities Institute; Marcia Bronstein, in charge of creating learning communities and leading the LC fellowship workshops; and Shelley Jones, Spanish faculty and in charge of leading Service Learning opportunities for the GHI, met with the president of Universidad de El Salvador and his cabinet, with the university's curriculum team, and with faculty in the Humanities, education, and social sciences. These meetings gave the GHI faculty opportunities to share information on community colleges in the United states and on our student advising, developmental programs, and student support services-- many of which are new to higher education in El Salvador but crucial to the creation of the new two-year campus in Morazán.

The vision for the new campus in Morazán centers on the need for trained workers in the area, and for new opportunities for economic growth in the region. The citizens of Morazán also want to stem youth crime and gang activity and to end the exodus of local citizens to the United States: with more employment opportunities at home and a more marketable work force, Salvadorans will opt to remain in their country and to help it grow. Kranidis, Bronstein and Jones got to know the people of Morazán through meetings with indigenous people, artists, a women's collective, public school teachers and principals, youth organizations, and historians of the civil war from which this society is still recovering-- Morazán was the locus of the majority of battles that lasted until 2002.

We are gratified that, thanks to our broad exposure to all the constituents who stand to benefit from the Morazán campus of the Universidad de El Salvador, we were able to bring to our meetings with the Morazán government our understanding of locals' educational needs and our experience with supporting students who are underprepared for college. We were proud to share that helping students succeed is our first priority, regardless of their skills and abilities.

Montgomery College's relationship with El Salvador is a strong one. Not only are they our neighbors in large numbers, they are also our students. In our work in Morazán, we join the many Montgomery County residents who have already worked hard to make a positives difference there. We saw evidence of this in the group of Montgomery County's Habitat for Humanity volunteers we met in Perquin, Morazán and in the well-appointed new computer lab with computers donated by residents of Montgomery County and that is ready for the first class of students to arrive at the end of this month. We see our work in Morazán last month as the very beginning of a long-term collaboration that will support teaching and learning there, and we look forward to it.

Post Travel Presentations
India

The Global Humanities Institute pursued a partnership with an Indian college or university in preparation for GHI sponsored travel to India for faculty, staff, and administrators in March 2018.

Videos

These videos are a project of Professor Terrence Johnson. 

Opportunities

Seminars Abroad: India 2017

The Global Humanities Institute provided an opportunity for faculty and selected staff to gain first-hand international educational experience thanks to our partnerships with universities abroad. This travel was supported by a “Bridging Cultures” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Montgomery College Foundation.

Our partnership in India is with Jindal Global University. All travel programs took place during Spring Break plus two days (March 10-21, 2017). For our travel to India, we visited Delhi, Hyderabad, Goa, Agra, and Calcutta. Near Delhi and at other locations, we will meet in seminars with university faculty and administrators.

 

Global Classrooms

Global Classrooms is one way in which the Global Humanities Institute is bringing the world to Montgomery College (MC) students. Global Classrooms is generously supported by the Distance Learning arm of ELITE, Montgomery College's teaching and learning professional development center. Special thanks go to Gloria Barron for her help with creating instructional and other materials. Below is more information on specific global classroom initiatives.

Global Virtual Exchange: Montgomery College and the University of El Salvador

As one of the Global Humanities Institute’s (GHI) initiatives to bring the world to Montgomery College (MC) students, last semester Spanish learners engaged in a virtual cultural exchange with Modern Language majors from the University of El Salvador (UES).  Born out of connections made during the July 2013 GHI workgroup trip to El Salvador, the effort was a collaboration between the UES Dean of Humanities, GHI Director Rita Kranidis, MC Instructional Designer Tom Cantu and the staff from Media Resources, two UES English professors and MC Spanish professors Shelley Jones and Carla Naranjo.

MC participants included students from elementary through intermediate level Spanish while all of the UES students involved were English or Modern Language majors.  Students from both countries posed questions in their native languages for their exchange partners to consider before the actual virtual meeting.  In the case of the intermediate Spanish students, responses were given in Spanish, integrating language production practice with the cultural aspects of the exchange. Lower level Spanish students gave their answers in English.  Some of the questions included:  

  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • Who are the most important influences in your life?
  • Is civic or political involvement important to you?
  • Is it more difficult for women to find work in certain fields?
  • Do most UES students work in addition to attend school?

Students were given both a pre-encounter and a post-encounter survey as a means of gathering information about student learning as a result of the exchange.  Asked to reflect on the experience in the post-encounter survey, MC students responded:

It was great practice that we don’t normally get to have because normally we’re speaking with other English speakers so we’re not always forced to put ourselves out there. [It] was really fun to see and hear about the experiences of other college students and makes me want to learn Spanish even more! To see how engaged and hard working those students were is such an inspiration.  It makes me want to learn Spanish even more and be as hard working as they are. (Annie)

The experience impacted my understanding of Salvadoran culture because in the U.S., a lot of students take another language just for credit while the kids in El Salvador take it because they want to speak multiple languages and be able to understand. (Angel)I would recommend that MC continue to develop virtual cultural exchange opportunities because it would allow students to see how education is important in any culture. (Mauricio)

[The benefits of a virtual exchange] are direct contact with people experiencing a completely different culture. While I have family in South America, I don’t really get this experience often because all we talk about is family things.  It was very interesting to hear everyone talk about their lives and what El Salvador is like. [It was] definitely a unique experience for both parties and fosters cultural connections/awareness. (Mina)

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