October 25, 2021

Say What: Schoolcraft College International Institute

Learning the lingo

Learning, of course, is the goal of any college experience. Part of that education means familiarizing yourself with some unfamiliar terms. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

As part of an occasional series, we’ll explain phrases, lingo or topics to add to your college vocabulary. We call it “Say What?” If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, please send suggestions to [email protected]

Today we’ll learn about the Schoolcraft College International Institute, or SCII.

Why do we have it?

Developing a global perspective with understanding and appreciation of the diversities and commonalities among world cultures is more important than ever. A key resource to help develop that perspective and understanding is the Schoolcraft College International Institute. This organization serves as the umbrella for several initiatives at the College, including a variety of events; a publication, “International Agenda”; and academic opportunities.

Schoolcraft College students, employees and community members all are invited to take advantage of the many offerings.

“It is important to promote International and Intercultural education more than ever,” said Professor Kimberly Lark, who is Co-Chair of the International Institute along with Professor Helen Ditouras. “In a highly connected globe, we interact with varying cultures and nationalities on a daily basis. Increased cultural and social awareness makes for better citizens, better employees and a more well-rounded person.”

The roots of the International Institute go back more than 25 years. This longevity, combined with the high caliber of the events and the support from the College and the community, means the SCII is a vital, thriving and important organization.

“Today the SCII is a bottom-up, grass-roots organization drawing on faculty and staff from a wide variety of disciplines and departments across campus,” Professor Ditouras said. 

What are some of the events?

Perhaps the best-known event within the International Institute umbrella is the Focus Series, which began in January 2004 to provide a campus-wide focus on one cultural region of the world or global theme. The Focus Series features films, presentations, displays and performances, allowing students and community members to explore the culture, politics, economics and history of the featured region and its relation to the rest of the world.

International Institute

This year’s theme is “Human Rights Around the Globe.” All events are free and open to the public on Zoom. View the upcoming schedule

“The International Institute has cultivated relationships with academic partners from a variety of institutions, including Wayne State University, Michigan State, and University of Michigan,” said Professor Ditouras, who also serves as the Focus Series Coordinator. “In addition, our longstanding partnership with the Midwest Institute for International Intercultural Education has provided us a pool of stellar scholars that we have been fortunate to invite over time.”

Other events include the Multicultural Fair, usually held in the spring, GlobalEYEzers and Global Roundtables.

“The first Multicultural Fair debuted in 2001 under the co-sponsorship of the SCII and the Learning Assistance Center – it now welcomes 3000 ‘travelers’ each year,” Professor Josselyn Moore, former Chair of the International Institute, said. “This is free and open to the public, and historically has attracted quite a large number of attendees.”

GlobalEYEzers and Global Roundtables provide opportunities throughout the year for informal discussion of a variety of topics related to living and learning in a global society. The GlobalEYEzers Coordinators are Dr. Anna Maheshwari and Professor Moore.

What else is there?

The “International Agenda” is the official newsletter of the Schoolcraft College International Institute and is delivered electronically throughout the year. It contains information about events around campus, profiles of students, faculty, staff and community members and short articles about relevant international and intercultural topics. 

“International Agenda” is emailed to all Schoolcraft College faculty and staff. It is also available to non-Schoolcraft-affiliated individuals by emailing Professor Colleen Pilgrim, who serves as Editor.

Global Endorsements for students and faculty

Schoolcraft College students have the opportunity to build their international resume by earning a Global Endorsement as part of their degree. This program, overseen by the International Institute, requires participating students to complete a minimum of 15 credit hours of classes designated as International and taken Fall 2006 or after. Such classes, which are identified in the class schedule every semester, contain at least two weeks of global or multicultural content. 

There are 85 different classes across 22 academic disciplines making it easy for students to find courses that meet degree requirements and contribute to the Endorsement. The Global Endorsement is an attractive option for students pursuing any of a variety of programs.

Faculty interested in teaching a Globally Endorsed class can contact any member of the International Institute leadership team for more information and assistance.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Schoolcraft College International institute can attend a meeting or email International Institute directly at [email protected]

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