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Gummer, Beloit featured prominently in ‘Going Global’ story

January 28, 2011


On Friday, while classrooms filled and emptied and Presidential Scholar candidates wound their way around campus, Academic Dean Ann Davies and Natalie Gummer, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Initiatives program, were in San Francisco at a conference. But, as evidenced by the Friday morning edition of Inside Higher Ed, Beloit was still on their minds.

In a piece titled “Going Global, Going Liberal Arts,” Scott Jaschik, the influential publication’s editor, reported on a noticeable theme unfolding at the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ 2011 Annual Meeting—and noted Beloit’s unique role in advancing the conversation.

Everyone at the meeting, Jaschik wrote, “seems to favor globalization as a goal for higher education -- not much of a surprise given the meeting theme of ‘Global Positioning.’ But some here argued that it is time to rethink just what globalization means -- in many cases making it more local in focus (and without seeing local and global as opposites).

To emphasize the point, Jaschik pointed to a session titled “Introducing Global Perspectives into the Liberal Arts Curriculum” and Gummer’s remarks surrounding Beloit’s approach and programs.

"You can be located bodily in another country and not really be there," Gummer is quoted as saying in the session. These "American student culture bubbles" impair students’ ability to fully immerse themselves in the place, she says.

But the same “bubble” phenomenon can also happen back on the home campus, Gummer said during the panel discussion, where she was joined by Davies and contemporaries from other institutions. Her comments further detailed how Beloit’s “Cities in Transition” program is helping inform community outreach efforts back here in Beloit.

Read more about the session, and a Chinese institution’s move towards the liberal arts, on the website.