Willamette University

President’s Annual Report

Two contemporary issues illustrate that we live in an increasingly interconnected world: the recent subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. that triggered a massive recession, and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on global climates. These issues demonstrate that our economy is inherently connected to those of other nations and that many of our actions can affect people and environments in any corner of the globe. The transmission of news and information is instant and widespread. The world we live in has shrunk.

Shouldn’t a Willamette education prepare students to navigate a smaller world?

We think so. The emergence of global pluralism and interdependence presents new challenges for higher education, but it also provides new opportunities. Multifaceted cultural and identity differences enrich the process of discovery and generate multiple modes of inquiry in the exchange of ideas. Our curriculum and co-curricular activities seek to address global issues and the interconnected world in which we live.

To succeed as members of a global community, our students must develop an awareness of the fact that many problems or issues which have been regarded as primarily domestic can no longer be understood or resolved without consideration of the global context. We offer interdisciplinary majors, such as international studies, that integrate social, economic, political, geographic and historical perspectives in the examination of the dramatic trends toward increased interdependence among nations.

Recognition of the importance of cultural diversity, through grounding in a specific foreign culture and language, is an essential complement to these interdisciplinary studies. Subjects such as international economics and trade, international security, foreign aid and development issues, international cultural institutions, religion in world affairs, European history and politics, Latin American society, and Asian culture and religion prepare students to enter graduate training in various fields. These might include international relations, law, international business and government, teaching and journalism. Additionally, half of Willamette students pursue academic credit internationally by the time they graduate.

Willamette offers programs in dozens of countries, so students may tailor their experience based on their interests and motivations. In addition to traditional study abroad programs, Willamette offers options called post-sessions — shorter international study experiences that are connected to a particular course and professor.

By elevating the role of globalism in our curriculum and on our campus, we will improve community understanding of global issues and the interrelatedness among peoples, underscoring the university’s motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.” Our motto unites Willamette’s educational communities in common purpose: to provide an education that prepares students to be active, informed participants in a globally oriented democratic society who will positively impact their communities through professional achievement, service and leadership.

This issue of The Scene explores globalism at Willamette in its many manifestations. These include our 45-year educational partnership with Tokyo International University, dynamic study abroad options and the experiences of students from Bosnia and Herzegovina who come to Willamette’s campus to learn how to use debate as an alternative to war. Enjoy.

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M. Lee Pelton
President

President Pelton

“Issues which have been regarded as primarily domestic can no longer be understood or resolved without consideration of the global context.”