Mission of the CGRS

The Center for Global & Regional Studies bonds the language and area studies programs in order to promote courses, activities and experiences that connect with communities beyond campus — locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Providing a common meeting point and nexus for collaborative work, especially across area studies and beyond, the CGRS will facilitate regionally and globally inflected work in curricular and co-curricular ways.

The mission of the CGRS intersects with Carleton’s commitment to “the study of the world’s peoples, arts, environments, literatures, sciences, and institutions,” indicating that we seek to “prepare [our] graduates to become citizens and leaders, capable of finding inventive solutions to local, national, and global challenges” (Carleton Mission Statement). Furthermore, in our global citizenship requirement, we affirm that “effective citizens and leaders […] make a difference in this world only if they are equipped to navigate foreign cultures, be conversant in foreign languages, and acquaint themselves with multiple cultures and societies that are different from their own.”

These aspirational statements resonate with higher education priorities writ large. In particular, “Diversity/Global Learning” figures among the American Association of Colleges & Universities top-ten list of High-Impact Practices. Concepts of “global citizenship,” “global engagement,” and “global competency” are also featured regularly in major publications and by leaders in higher education.

Carleton has historic strengths in many of these areas. However, the College’s most recent Strategic Plan underscores our commitment to go further, to “promote programs and experiences that connect the education students receive on campus with communities beyond campus — locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.” In particular, the Plan identifies priorities worthy of particular attention: enhanced off-campus study (especially to less traveled areas of the world), expanded civic engagement, more student research and internships (including international opportunities), and greater attention to the integration of on-campus and off-campus work.

As complements to the goals mentioned above, we have identified three additional objectives:

  • To underscore the importance of cultural and linguistic understanding across disciplines;
  • To support teaching that helps students thread connections across cultural, regional and temporal divides;
  • To provide structured experiences that move students to reflect on their own roles, responsibilities and positionalities within a diverse world.

Given our current strengths in international languages and area studies, and our very high rate of student participation in off-campus studies, we can now help our students deepen their understanding of world regions and global issues.

We will achieve this goal by enhancing integration between current institutional structures, particularly within the curriculum and between the curriculum and off-campus studies, through the Center for Global and Regional Studies (CGRS). The CGRS continues and expands much of the work started with a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Responsibilities of the CGRS

The work of the CGRS can be summarized in three verbs: Coordinate, Distribute, Communicate.   

1. Coordinate

The Center will continue to foster synergies and create efficiencies among our long-standing area studies programs, as well as in disciplinary fields of study focused on, or participating in, the study of global issues. The Center seeks to leverage Carleton’s considerable investment in area studies, foreign language study, and off-campus study programs by integrating them more fully across the curriculum.

In addition to providing administrative support for area studies, the CGRS will assist with the development of certain area studies courses, as well as experiment with e-Portfolio (and other “high impact practices,” especially in the area identified by the AAC&U as “Diversity/Global Learning”). Moreover, the CGRS will connect with the “Global Commons” group — a self-administered alliance of offices including the CGRS, OCS, CCCE, the Language Center, OIL, Director of Arts, the Career Center, and Residential Life — in order to facilitate the coordination of overlapping projects.

2. Distribute

The Center will, as guided by its coordinating board, distribute resources to support student research, relevant speakers, internships, and curricular innovation.

3. Communicate

The Center will make its work visible, promoting its activities in a variety of ways. Specifically, it will collaborate with departments and programs across the humanities, arts, social sciences and sciences to encourage reflection and development of global learning; to share information with relevant groups; to publicize events of global import.