The New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium, of which Hamilton College is a member, has received a three-year $1.25 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support an international initiative aimed at strengthening global education. Other New York Six members are Colgate University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. Lawrence University, Skidmore College and Union College.
The grant will fund the New York Six International Initiative that “will assist the member schools in expanding the global aspects of their curricula and engaging students and faculty in the study of global issues, both at the home campuses and abroad.”
The Consortium’s proposal to the Mellon Foundation noted the importance of providing students with an international perspective as part of the undergraduate experience since, “Virtually every career path our students may choose will require knowledge of, and the ability to navigate, a wide range of cultures.”
Members of the New York Six have individually made substantial commitments to global education by expanding their study abroad programs, building international perspectives into their curricula, and enrolling more international students. Through the grant they seek to increase opportunities while finding efficiencies through collaboration.
Components of the program will include The New York Six Update-Global Collective; Study abroad collaboration; language learning groups in the less-frequently taught languages; and the New York Six International Student Community.
The New York Six Upstate-Global Collective
The New York Six Upstate-Global Collective (UGC) will be a scholarly community supporting teaching and learning around academic themes that have rich historical roots in upstate New York but that are also of current consequence worldwide.
The Collective will be launched with two themes – sustainability and human rights – with other themes developing through faculty engagement over the course of the grant. These themes were chosen because of common interests among faculty on the six campuses and existing infrastructures to support this work. The interdisciplinary nature of these areas of study provide the New York Six with an opportunity to build a model for faculty engagement in future activities.
The Initiative will combine study on the home campus related to the selected topic, followed by a study-abroad experience integrating the same theme. Students then will return to connect their experience back to the classroom and to the other New York Six colleges.
Study Abroad Collaboration
Across the New York Six, it is possible for students to study on six of the world’s seven continents. Individual colleges, however, are not able to offer this breadth of programming on their own. In addition, the schools often have fewer students enrolled than they can accommodate in their programs.
Through the grant the New York Six proposes opening enrollment in the colleges’ programs to students across the Consortium on a space-available basis, at each college’s option. Students will be encouraged to take part in those programs in which they have the best opportunities to study the theme they have chosen for their domestic learning experience.
Language Learning Groups in Less-Frequently Taught Languages
Members of the New York Six realize the need to offer less-frequently taught languages while controlling costs. The proposal noted the availability of instruction in these languages is critical for students who wish to study (and perhaps work) in countries in which these are the primary languages. Under the grant the New York Six will create faculty learning groups in two languages to conduct a pilot to test how resources can be pooled in the less-frequently taught languages for more efficient and effective delivery of language instruction.
New York Six International Student Community
This aspect of the grant is aimed at enhancing the experience of international students on the New York Six campuses. While the number of international students is increasing, they remain a small minority in the overall student body on any one campus.
“Establishing a greater sense of community among the students across the New York Six will not only improve the chances that they will get to know others from their home country or region and have a greater sense of ‘home’ here, but also will enable them to share experiences and help each other navigate the American higher education landscape,” the proposal noted. “It is our hope that, as a result, international students will more fully engage in their undergraduate experience, enabling their fellow students and faculty to benefit from the unique perspectives they bring to our campuses, particularly in the context of the Upstate-Global Collective.”
New York Six Connected Consortium Partnership
The New York Six has already collaborated successfully in information technology and the libraries including IT purchasing, network security, user support and instructional technology. Through the MediaShare project, member colleges established protocols for video streaming of campus speakers and other events, with the schools’ librarians investigating protocols for digitizing and archiving videotapes and film. These ongoing informational technology and library collaborations will now be called the New York Six Connected Consortium Partnership (CCP).
The CCP will enable the use of electronic (video-conferencing, web collaboration tools, real-time chats, emerging social media, and digital storytelling) and in- person (such as via workshops, symposia, and post-abroad conferences) interaction. Through the libraries they will have access to information resources across the six institutions.
The grant will also enable the New York Six to hire a full-time project manager for the Initiative.