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Foreign Languages associate professor Amy McNichols, pictured with senior Dani Allen, leads McDaniel’s Global Initiatives.

Music-as-communication lecture launches Global Initiatives program

October 09, 2012

McDaniel College is going global – well beyond study abroad and international courses – and Foreign Language associate professor Amy McNichols is leading the charge.

Global Initiatives at McDaniel kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 with “A Place in the World: Conceptions, Connections and Cultural Boxes,” a talk by Penn State communication professor C. Michael Elavsky in Decker Center Forum. A rock-band drummer turned Communications professor, Elavsky studies the music industry on a global scale, music as political communication – how music influences people’s lives and how people see each other.

But Elavsky’s talk about his personal journey is only the launch of initiatives supporting the college’s commitment to cultivating global citizenship among students and helping them find their own place in the world.

“The goal is inter-cultural competency – developing a deep and comprehensive understanding of our complex, increasingly interconnected world,” says McNichols, newly appointed Global Initiatives director. “It is more and more the norm for universities to internationalize as the world becomes smaller but more complex.”

Global Initiatives will touch all aspects of students’ McDaniel experience, from curriculum to extra-curricular activities and experiential and service learning opportunities abroad. World Cafés and “I Went Abroad …” sessions are designed to spark conversations among students who have studied abroad, international students, Foreign Language and International Studies majors and other globally interested students.


Global Initiatives director Amy McNichols meets with members of the student advisory committee, from left to right Hayoung Kim, Mara Seibert, Jonny Wixen and Clara Burgess.

McNichols also has introduced the Global Fellows program, a structured three-year program open to first-year students, to enhance their understanding of global issues, develop heightened intercultural competency and cultivate the skills and attitudes important to leading successful lives in a global context. The program complements any major or minor, and results in the Global Fellow designation on the student’s transcript.

As Global Fellows, students will take more international courses as part of their regular coursework, become proficient in a language spoken primarily outside the U.S., study abroad, participate in global professional and personal development workshops and activities, and help organize open-to-the-public lectures and discussions on global topics.

“We want students to understand that global education isn’t just a couple of classes,” says McNichols, who has a faculty-staff steering committee and has also enlisted planning help from internationally experienced students, including seniors Dani Allen, Clara Burgess, Hayoung Kim, Mirko Fernández, Mara Seibert, Jonny Wixen and Rula Zara.

“The next generation will only be much better prepared for the future by knowing more ways to live in the world and how to interact with people from many different cultures.”