Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Diversity and a Global View

I've been using this blog to share different ideas I encounter as I continue to learn about the world around us and the shifts associated with that world changing in unprecedented ways. We hear from so many sources that the changes we're experiencing are making our world smaller and that we need to increase our understanding of diversity and expand our global view. In response to that need, MVCC has been working on a far-reaching Diversity and Global View (DGV) initiative that pre-dates me, so I've only tried to fan the flames so they burn even brighter.

This fall, MVCC added a new Diversity and Global View general education requirement where all degree-seeking students will need to satisfy the DGV requirement by successfully completing four tutorials, a DGV approved course and attending four approved events through our MVCC Cultural Series or other approved experiences. DGV sets MVCC apart from so many other institutions that espouse a commitment to diversity - we're bringing it to life through a fundamental shift in our general education degree requirements. Our Diversity and Global View Committee coordinates this significant effort at the College and will continue to refine our processes and procedures in the future.

The momentum created by the DGV initiative recently carried over to help make the 4th annual International festival at our Utica Campus a tremendous success. Thanks to the hard work of the International Initiatives Committee and a number of other helping hands, more than 400 students, faculty and staff learned a little more about each other, other cultures and themselves by attending the festival. I had the pleasure of welcoming everyone in the crowded event space in the lobby of our Blue Cross/Blue Shield Conference & Training Center. As part of the initial program, we had close to ten of our international students provide a welcome in their native languages, had a Buddhist monk say a few important words of welcome and then Mr. Khang sang a traditional Vietnamese song of welcome to get the event started. Mr. Khang is the Department Head of English at Kiang Gang Community College in the Mekong delta region of Vietnam. He is visiting MVCC for the entire month of April as part of the increasingly strong relationship between our two institutions and the ever-expanding diversity and global view efforts at the College.

The information booths, the music, the dancing, the smiles and welcoming atmosphere of our International Festival made the world feel smaller somehow; it made the world feel more personal, like all the change going on around us is just a reminder that culture to culture and person to person, we're all just people no matter where we are. If you have any thoughts on this, please contact me at presblog@mvcc.edu.