South Adds Global Engagement Certificate

Posted on September 21, 2017
Alice Jackson

Students Kassy Ureña Rodriguez, left, and Dale Pate, right, speak with Dr. Christine Rinne, coordinator of the new Global Engagement Certificate program. data-lightbox='featured'
Students Kassy Ureña Rodriguez, left, and Dale Pate, right, speak with Dr. Christine Rinne, coordinator of the new Global Engagement Certificate program.

Skyler Hill, a junior majoring in Russian at the University of South Alabama, is planning for a career of world travel. He believes the new Global Engagement Certificate at the University will help him get there.

The certificate resulted from South’s institutional priority of global engagement for students through motivated and sustained immersion in situations, practices or processes that bring them to a greater awareness of global issues. Its goal is to recognize the work and commitment of students during their studies at South to prepare them to be actively engaged global citizens and effectively navigate the global workplace. The Global Engagement Certificate is available to all degree-seeking undergraduate students at the University.

“It’s definitely something to think about,” said the 21-year-old Hill, who is from the small community of Hurley, Miss. “Anything that can diversify my skill set and make me more employable attracts my interest, and this study program can only help me.”

Fellow student Kassy Ureña Rodriguez, 22, calls the Caribbean island nation of the Dominican Republic home but, like Hill, she plans to travel far and wide following graduation.

“I would love to have something to help ease the way to a good job,” said Rodriguez, a senior. “I want to work in the Foreign Service, and I hope I can complete the requirements for this certificate before graduation.”

Both Hill and Rodriguez have been part of the steady stream of South students visiting the office of Dr. Christine Rinne, coordinator of the Global Engagement Certificate program and an associate professor of German, since the certificate was announced. A University-wide committee of faculty and staff members developed the program. “I’ve met with many students already this semester and students in all colleges are interested in it,” Rinne said.

She explained that “the idea is for students majoring in areas where it is less obvious that their work will involve other cultures, to focus on possibilities. For instance, for students majoring in engineering, a future job may take them to another country, or they may have colleagues from other countries. This certificate helps them to think about working cross-culturally, with prior experiences that may apply to them working with other cultures and how they can market themselves and their experiences for future jobs.”

Students also participate in “globally engaged activity” such as studying abroad, internships, service learning or a combination of those.

Students who obtain the certificate will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast cultural differences among world populations
  • Identify essential cultural/traditional practices of global populations and ethnic groups
  • Differentiate between major religions of the world and their major tenets
  • Forecast social change as a result of political systems, economies and religions
  • Predict the consequences of global business over the next decade(s)
  • Assess the global impact of international finance practices
  • Analyze the effect of geography on the development of nations
  • Explain the effects of political systems on populations
  • Identify reasons for ethnic conflict
  • Collaborate effectively with people from other cultures
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills

“There are a lot of different options, and not all of them involve experiences traveling abroad. Part of it is getting students to reflect on where they have been, where they are going and how they can present those experiences to a potential employer. It’s less about prescribing to students what they should do. Rather, it’s about how we can package what students have done and help them to present it,” Rinne said. “That’s why interested students should see me in order to discuss their options.”

Dr. Rick Carter, associate vice president for Global USA, said “We are fortunate to have this opportunity for students at the University of South Alabama.”

He added, “The certificate will provide students with documentation that during their studies they have selected classes and had experiences to better prepare them to navigate the global workplace, collaborate with people from other cultures or identify essential practices from around the world.”

For more information about the Global Engagement Certificate, visit the program's website. To make an advising appointment with Rinne, call (251) 460-6746.

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