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Dickinson College was born of the American Revolution and established to educate citizenleaders who would lead lives of meaning and consequence as they worked for the common good. We have always had to be particularly attuned to the emerging challenges the country would face. This was true in 1783 and is still true today. We are forward looking. This is why we say the revolution continues, and it must continue.
For several decades, Dickinson has been known as a leader in addressing two of the towering issues of our time: climate change, with its nearly endless human and environmental repercussions, and the internationalization of human life on a shrinking planet.
This semester has witnessed significant progress in both these areas, and we are pleased that our progress has received outside recognition as well.
In November we accepted the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization—for the second time! In the words of NAFSA: Association for International Educators, which selected Dickinson for this distinction, the award “recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that are making significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward comprehensive internationalization—especially those using innovative and creative approaches.” For a college to win this award twice is unprecedented in the history of this organization.
NAFSA has been impressed by our incorporation of intercultural training throughout our curriculum, its links to a strong drive for campuswide inclusivity, as well as our extensive and growing international and global studies programs. We teach 12 foreign languages, and more than half of our courses have significant international content. Over 60% of our students spend time studying abroad while the national average is only about 10%.
This internationalization has become a hallmark of our college, and we are proud to have been singled out as vanguards of U.S. higher education. The future we all face will require a level of international cooperation and coordination unparalleled in human experience. It will require that the leaders of our society—all sectors of our society—are able to understand, communicate and work with their fellow humans from all over the globe and have the experience and skills to do this work effectively. We are educating those leaders.
Last fall we hosted representatives from many colleges and universities from across the nation for two distinctive events: the BE.Hive Summit and the Global Engagement in the Liberal Arts Conference. The BE.Hive drew environmental advocates, youth climate activists, sustainability professionals, behavioral scientists and other leaders to explore how college communities can take the lead in promoting sustainable behavior and policies in the face of the global climate crisis. We are enormously proud of what our campus has already achieved in this regard and were happy to share our experience with others.
In a world where it is too easy to become discouraged in the face of the magnitude of our challenges, this conference overflowed with new ideas and tales of success.
The Global Engagement in the Liberal Arts Conference was the sixth such conference of this new organization. The theme was Creating Inclusive Global Communities, and topics included global education, inclusivity, diversity and social justice. As with the BE.Hive, it was Dickinson’s national leadership role in these areas that drew participants to Carlisle.
Finally, our Revolutionary Challenge, which launched last spring, has yielded 49 proposals from the greater Dickinson community. This initiative sought to elicit new and innovative ideas for the college from students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends. During the open comment period, more than 5,000 comments on the proposals were reviewed by the President’s Panel on Innovation, and that panel selected four proposals to present to the community in the spring: Developing Leaders for 21st-century Revolutionary Challenges; the Dickinson College Data Science Initiative; the Food, Agriculture and Resource Management (FARM) Lab; and FutureLab: Collaborative Innovation for the Greater Good. You can read more about this initiative at Dickinson.edu/revolutionary, and join us on campus on May 2 for the presentation of the full proposals.
This is a time of great change in the world, in our nation and in American higher education. It requires of us all an open-minded and thoughtful agility, a willingness to seek out new ideas and to work with others to accomplish new goals. One of the joys of being here at Dickinson is that we have forged a diverse community so willing and eager to do so, and with alumni who both understand and enthusiastically support our work. As you will see in the 2019-20 Midyear Giving Impact Report, your support makes a tangible impact on our students and our campus. Your support is, quite simply, indispensable. We hope we can continue to count on you.
TAKE THE NEXT STEPS
Published February 20, 2020