Centre strengthens global citizenship with new global commerce and Latin American Studies minors
April 28, 2011 By Abby Malik
Dr. Lori Hartmann-Mahmud (above) says, will give “real
consideration to the study of topics like sustainability, ethics,
politics, economics and culture, all of which fit really well into a
liberal arts curriculum.”
A minor in Latin American Studies will also be added. Students
have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Latin American
culture by studying abroad with the Centre-in-the-Yucatan
program, where students live and study in Merida and visit sites
like the Mayan ruin Ek Balam (above).
A key goal of Centre College’s strategic plan is the development of global citizens. As the third-ranked college in the nation for study abroad, Centre’s success in this area will be enhanced even more through the addition of two new minors: global commerce and Latin American Studies. The minors are now available for students to pursue.
The global commerce minor is an interdisciplinary program based in the liberal arts that seeks to prepare students for life in a global society and to equip them with essential tools for success in business and industry and non-profit organizations whose activities are global in scope. Drawing on appropriate preparation in at least one foreign language, students in the program will acquire grounding in economics, global politics, history and culture, as well as the essential institutions, concepts and practices in global economic and commercial activity.
Dr. Lori Hartmann-Mahmud, Hower Associate Professor of International Studies, says the global commerce minor will take the topics of trade and commerce and put them into a liberal arts context.
“When we talk about trade and commerce,” Hartmann-Mahmud says. “we’re going to give real consideration to the study of topics like sustainability, ethics, politics, economics and culture, all of which fit really well into a liberal arts curriculum. All of these topics come together to give a wide picture of what commerce is all about.”
In addition, the minor has a foreign language requirement of one course beyond the 220 level, which requires a student minoring in global commerce to be proficient in a chosen language.
“If you want to go abroad and engage in business and commerce transactions, it’s important to have these skills,” Hartmann-Mahmud says, and the global commerce minor is designed to prepare students to do just that.
Hartmann-Mahmud says a global commerce minor will fit well with majors across many disciplines, including international studies, economics and language majors. In addition, students studying biology or environmental studies might be attracted by the sustainability focus of the curriculum.
All students declaring a global commerce minor will take the same interdisciplinary “Introduction to Global Commerce” course. Global commerce minors will also take a history course that explores and traces the evolution of specific networks of exchange over the last 400 years.
In addition, the global commerce minor contains an exciting experiential learning requirement: students must complete either a long-term study abroad experience or a short-term experience and complete a globally themed internship.
Latin American Studies
Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic program that aims to impart to students knowledge of the region of Latin America, including history, society, politics and cultures. Within the curriculum, students will gain an understanding of Latin American and Latino/a perspectives and analyze Latin American issues from multiple points of view. Students will also develop linguistic and cultural fluency, engage with Latin American and Latino/a scholarship and communities, and draw connections among methodologies and perspectives of multiple disciplines.
Dr. Genny Ballard, assistant professor of Spanish, says that students from across many majors can benefit from minoring in Latin American studies. The minor will incorporate courses and ideas from Spanish, anthropology, sociology, religion, history, philosophy and other academic disciplines.
“Beyond that, we expect that this minor will help students who are interested in international studies to focus on a particular region of study,” Ballard says. “This Latin American Studies curriculum will help enhance that experience.”
Would this minor also be appealing to a chemistry or biology major? Ballard says absolutely.
“A Latin American studies minor would be a very important complement to, for instance, any student considering a medical or research career, because of the changing U.S. population and steady increase in the Latino population,” she explains. “This would attract more science majors who don’t have time to also major in Spanish. It would familiarize them with a population they’re going to have contact with in the United States and abroad.”
All students declaring a Latin American Studies minor will take a capstone course at the end of the curriculum. Students will determine a long-term research project to be presented at Centre’s yearly RICE (Research, Internships, and Creative Endeavors) academic symposium or at another regional or national professional conference. Ballard says the minor will incorporate Community-Based Learning opportunities with the Latino community locally and across Kentucky, which involves intensive reading and preparation before the experience and then a rigorous reflection process afterward, involving journaling and regular meetings with professors.