WKU will celebrate International Education Week Nov. 14-18 with a variety of dynamic events spanning a range of disciplines and creating a multitude of global and intercultural opportunities for students.
Initiated in 2000 by the Departments of State and Education, IEW is an annual celebration of world cultures and global perspectives. WKU’s objective in celebrating IEW is to provide WKU students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community with opportunities to experience diverse cultures and engage in intercultural dialogue.
Coordinated by the Office of International Programs (OIP) and made possible by a committed group of WKU faculty and staff serving on the IEW Planning Committee, the 2016 calendar will feature more than 15 events sponsored by over 30 academic departments, on-campus units, student organizations and community partners. This includes the local U.S. Bank branch, whose support for a second, consecutive year is indicative of IEW’s growing momentum in becoming an important fixture at WKU.
This year’s IEW Planning Committee made faculty members the center of much of much of their promotion and recruitment efforts. This focus on faculty was driven in large part by results from a survey conducted during the 2015 IEW.
“Faculty play a critical role in facilitating global learning,” said Anna Yacovone, Coordinator of OIP. “Whether through the inclusion of international content in their courses or offering co-academic events complementing coursework, faculty members are instrumental in cultivating intercultural competency in our students. This assumption was reinforced by last year’s IEW survey.”
Of the 332 student respondents in the 2015 IEW survey, 49 percent pointed to WKU faculty as the reason for their participation in IEW. Thanks to these efforts, WKU faculty are leading seven of the 18 events slated for the 2016 IEW.
Dr. Jieyoung Kong and Professor Heather Strode in the Department of Communication are hosting through their Communication 463: Intercultural Communication and Communication 145: Public Speaking, respectively, the Communication Skills: Cultural 101 Workshop for International Encounters. The workshop will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 15 at Downing Student Union, rooms 2123-2124.
“The workshop empowers our students to design the communication process and determine the parameters of their discussion at the workshop,” Dr. Kong said. “WKU has a very diverse student body in and outside the classrooms. But little learning and understanding seems to be happening across various divides when learning about each other, our experiences and views is becoming more important than ever before. Our workshop hopes to bridge that divide.”
IEW will see another WKU faculty member bring international perspectives to students – this time with an emphasis on business. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Dana Cosby from the Department of Management, Gordon Ford College of Business is offering the first in what will be an annual International Business Symposium. This symposium on Nov. 16 is designed to introduce WKU students to global business opportunities and will feature four events connecting students with professionals in the field. Students will have the chance to hear remarks from the CEO of the Kentucky Trade Center at the symposium’s international coffee hour and hear from business experts at the symposium’s panel on why developing cultural competencies is essential to becoming successful in an ever-changing, global economy.
IEW is also a chance for student organizations to showcase their interests and passions through events that further their own missions. Maggie Sullivan, a junior International Affairs and Gender and Women’s Studies major and founder of WKU’s No Lost Generation Chapter, is organizing Through the Eyes of a Refugee. This event from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 17 at Centennial Mall offers a virtual reality experience where attendees tour simulation programs depicting the lives of refugees from Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan.
“No Lost Generation WKU creates an opportunity for students to not only learn more about other cultures, but also become involved in addressing some of the most pressing concerns of our global society,” Sullivan said. “Through the Eyes of a Refugee helps to increase awareness by using virtual reality technology to place students in the shoes of a young refugee fleeing violence and persecution.”
Another student-run event during IEW is Project Pengyou’s The Why’s and How’s of Living and Working in the U.S.-China Space from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at Honors College-International Center, room, 1011. The event will feature a panel of U.S.-China professionals who will discuss the value of living and working in the U.S.-China space, followed by a social gathering and a cultural photography exhibition.
Other recurring events include Coffee Talk by English as a Second Language International (ESLi); a dance workshop titled South Korean Dance Fusion by the National Dance Education Organization WKU Student Chapter; and the third annual GlobeTrot. Coordinated by OIP and implemented by Housing and Residence Life, the Office of Study Abroad & Global Learning, the Office of Study Away, ESLi, the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad and the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, GlobeTrot transforms select residence halls into target countries or world regions. This year’s lineup includes South Korea, Morocco, Spain, Scotland, Mongolia, and the Xinjiang province of China.
For information on IEW events, visit wku.edu/oip/iew/iew2016.php
About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in a global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.
Contact: Anna Yacovone, (270) 745-3975