Monday, November 28, 2011

DGV & the Holiday Season

The effects of globalization appear in the news daily. Whether it’s the economy, technology, or politics, globalization is a major factor in society today. As the “Holiday Season” is now in full swing, it’s important to raise our consciousness about what globalization means this time of year. While Thanksgiving is widely celebrated in the United States, it warrants pause to recognize the literary license that led to Thanksgiving as we know it today (e.g., Thanksgiving from a Native-American perspective). If we are to think of ourselves as “modern Americans,” in this age of globalization, shouldn’t we also be more intentional with our language and appreciation for the variety of Holidays that comprise the term “holiday season?”

In addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations, many cultures worldwide, including several within our own community, celebrate Chanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Day of ‘Ashura, and several other New Year celebrations that do not follow the Gregorian calendar. As our community becomes more diverse, the ability to recognize and respect other cultures is key to thriving in a flat world.

The Holidays, in all their variety, are a good time to re-emphasize the unique nature and importance of MVCC’s Diversity and Global View (DGV) graduation requirement (http://www.mvcc.edu/dgv/home). For the past three years, all degree-seeking MVCC students must complete one DGV-designated course; four online DGV modules; and confirm attendance at four DGV-designated events as part of our growing Cultural Series. Certificate-seeking students must complete one DGV course along with two modules and two events. We’ve made improvements to the DGV process each year and will continue to refine the processes documenting and assessing the student DGV experience.

When I mention our DGV requirement to colleagues around the country, the most common response is, “that is a commitment like no other.” MVCC DGV is truly a great and unique offering that sprung from the creative minds of the faculty and staff at MVCC who saw the world was changing and were committed to emphasizing the importance of understanding diversity among the student body. It’s a great example of what we can do when we think big, set goals that stretch the experience of our students, faculty, and staff, and then work together to achieve success.

The commitment to MVCC’s Diversity and Global View program inherently implies a commitment to understanding and appreciating others – their beliefs, values, cultures, individuality, circumstances, and humanity. MVCC’s formal DGV graduation requirement is the perfect complement to an ongoing effort we are very interested in here at MVCC – that of increasing the civility with which we interact with each other at every level. After all, the Holiday Season can be a great reminder about the critical importance civility and diversity play in our personal lives, in our efforts to achieve student success, and in our roles as world citizens.

If you have any comments on this post, please contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.