After serving in an interim role since July 1, Lori Hartmann has been named the permanent director of the Center for Global Citizenship at Centre College, long recognized as one of the nation’s top and most innovative international study programs.
Hartmann joined the Centre faculty in 1999 and is currently the Frank B. and Virginia B. Hower Professor of International Studies, an endowed position to which she was named in 2009. Her scholarly interests focus on African politics, political economy, and gender and development in West Africa.
In making the appointment, Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the College Ellen Goldey recognized a multitude of talents in Hartmann.
“When Lori moved from the faculty into the role of interim director, she quickly learned and mastered what is a very complex role that involves balancing budgets in international currencies, coordinating with international partners, minimizing risk, and so much more,” Goldey said.
“However, it was her handling of challenges associated with the coronavirus,” Goldey added, “that confirmed we had the best person for the job right here at home and ended the national search in which she was a finalist.”
Hartmann and her staff led the way in bringing safely home from around the world a total of 97 Centre students, 93 of whom were studying abroad in six different countries and four students studying away in the Centre-in-Washington program in the nation’s capital.
Goldey noted that Hartmann communicated directly and often with students and parents every step of the way. Beyond this personal level of care, she navigated the complicated logistics involved in communicating with faculty program directors and other partners in London, England; Strasbourg, France; Merida and Marista, Mexico; Glasgow, Scotland; Northern Ireland; and Segovia, Spain.
Delighted by the appointment, Hartmann believes her most important qualifications for the job are an “unbridled enthusiasm for study abroad and cross-cultural understanding,” adding, “I know, first hand, the transformative power of study abroad.”
Hartmann has twice directed the College’s semester-long program in Strasbourg, France; she was a Fulbright scholar at Wollo University in Dessie, Ethiopia, for the 2015-2016 academic year; and she has led four trips to Cameroon to study politics and civil society during the College’s three-week CentreTerm in January.
She brings to her role an understanding of study abroad from a student perspective as well, with her first experience as a college junior studying abroad in Paris. Hartmann also spent two years in Niger with the Peace Corps and one year in Senegal as a Rotary scholar.
Of these experiences, Hartmann recalls, “I saw how immersion in a different culture allows for better understanding of the world and for important introspective reflection. The value of internationalization (in both directions) cannot be overstated.”
This outlook has been reinforced in her role as a faculty member, Hartmann reflected.
“As a professor, I have seen the value of having an internationally diverse student body,” she said, “and as a study abroad director, I have seen firsthand how students learn and grow through those experiences.”
While in the Interim director role, Hartmann worked to strengthen risk management procedures, clarify the budget process, and mentor faculty as they propose courses and programs. In addition, the CGC organized the first ever “Passport Fair” in collaboration with the Danville Post Office, a two-day effort that involved setting up a mini-post office on campus for students and staff to renew or apply for a new passport.
Hartmann is also working to plan for new exchanges and new or expanded programs.
In collaboration with two sister institutions in the Associated Colleges of the South—Sewanee: University of the South and Rhodes College—and with the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, Centre is developing three new programs, for instance. A domestic study away program in New York City will launch in the fall of 2021, and the other two, one on the African Diaspora (based in Ghana) and another on global environmental challenges in Latin America, are being planned.
More than anything right now, Hartmann is also monitoring daily how the global health pandemic will impact not just upcoming programs but the future of study abroad
“In my mind, this pandemic only underscores the importance of global experiences for our students and global cooperation around the challenges facing the world, be they health challenges, trade issues, climate change or immigration,” she said.
“These are just a few of those big challenges that cannot be met at the nation-state level alone,” Hartmann added, “and the best way to prepare our students for the future is to offer them opportunities to learn about the world and feel comfortable navigating new places.”
Hartmann said she relishes the conversations with students after they return from an abroad experience, because “the joy and excitement they express is palpable.”
Looking to the future, especially on the heels of COVID-19, Hartmann says that the CGC will work to strengthen risk management protocols and do more with program assessment even as the College considers ways to expand offerings.
Hartmann is also committed to establishing a more robust carbon emissions mitigation policy, and perhaps in the near future, institutionalize a summer language program.
by Michael Strysick
April 28, 2020