Global Initiatives

Laura German
Arcadia: University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand)
The end of an epic run. Hokitika Gorge, New Zealand.
Waking up after two full days of white water kayaking on the west coast, the crew was pretty slow to get moving. It took a minute of convincing to get everyone in cold wetsuits and on the water, but it happened! The weather was absolutely perfect, and the river was flowing at ideal cumecs. Peering over my boat, the colorful rocks lining the riverbed thirty feet below were perfectly visible. The vibrant blue water splashed against the white boulders, and broke playfully through the rapids. It was such an epic run. Everyone formed a circle and shared a few laughs just before the takeout.
Excellence in teaching and learning is at the center of all that we do as a liberal arts college. For this reason, a priority of Wooster’s Strategic Plan is to further develop our educational approach to diversity and global engagement and to identify new opportunities to increase our students’ intercultural awareness and capacities for responsible global citizenship. The initiatives detailed below will help expand our students’ world view by exposing them first-hand to other cultures, provide opportunities for faculty to advance their own scholarship at an international level and bring that knowledge back to the classroom, and support our international students who add richness and diversity to Wooster’s campus community.  

Global Undergraduate Student Research Fund - Many of our students wish to pursue an Independent Study (I.S.) project connected to issues they encountered while studying abroad. Currently, students who wish to research abroad apply for funding from the Henry J. Copeland Fund for Independent Study. Last year, the Copeland Fund provided I.S. research support to 160 students. Of that total, 41 students received support for research abroad. Because the Copeland Fund supports unusual I.S. research expenses for both national and international experiences, there is not enough Copeland funds available to support the growing number of students who wish to travel outside of the United States. An endowed fund of $5 million would provide approximately $250,000 in additional global research funding year each to support our students’ needs.  

“Wooster in” Program Fund - “Wooster in” programs are study abroad opportunities that reach across academic disciplines and carry academic credit. These programs are administered and/or taught by our own faculty members, and many are tied to courses taught on campus with the travel serving as the courses’ field components. Other “Wooster in” programs have courses embedded in the program itself. These programs vary by semester and can be especially valuable to students whose majors or athletic commitments make it difficult for them to participate in semester or year-long off-campus or study abroad experiences. “Wooster in” programs generally cost $3,000 - $5,000 per student, which may not include airfare. An endowed “Wooster in” Program Fund would help reduce the programs’ travel and operational costs and make them more accessible to all Wooster students. 

Study Abroad Travel Fund - Off-campus study is a vital dimension of a Wooster education. It provides a forum for developing a diverse and global perspective, helps students learn about themselves and their communities, and deepens their knowledge of their academic area of interest. Approximately 35% of each graduating class has at least one off-campus experience at Wooster, with most experiences taking place during a student’s sophomore or junior year. However, many of our students from lower income brackets – 25% of our student body – do not choose to study abroad because they cannot afford the airfare or the in-country supplementary costs needed to participate in most international programs. Even with careful planning, studying abroad is just too much of a financial stretch for these students and their families. An endowed Study Abroad Travel Fund would make the majority of Wooster’s study abroad programs a financial possibility for students with high financial need and allow them to have what for many is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Faculty Global Conference Fund - Just as our faculty members need to keep current in their academic disciplines, they also need the opportunity to present their research to audiences of their peers. In the past, the key conferences in many fields of study where often held in the United States. Now conferences have become more international, but many of our faculty members are not able to participate because of increasing airfare and other expenses. The creation of an endowed fund designated specifically to cover international conference travel and other related expenses would provide the funds our faculty need in order to share and expand their knowledge at a global level.  

International Student Scholarships – Currently, 6.9% of our student population is composed of international students from approximately 40 countries. Many international students come to Wooster with significant financial need. The College has a few endowed scholarships that are specifically designated for international students, but most financial aid for these students comes from Wooster’s operating budget or from other sources of general scholarship support. Establishing endowed scholarship funds designated for international students will help the College provide more support for these students and also allow funds currently being used for aid to be allocated for other purposes that will benefit all students at Wooster. 

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