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Mission, Vision and Goals

Landscape view of Umbria, Italy

Photo credit: Jasmine Moore '19 (Italy, Umbra Institute, fall 2018)

Mission Statement

The mission of the office is to foster student capacity for thoughtful engagement with the world beyond Swarthmore by providing access and support for high-quality educational opportunities across the globe.

Vision Statement

The vision of the office is for Swarthmore students to graduate with:
1) a strong sense of social and civic responsibility;
2) intercultural knowledge, and;
3) the ability to approach situations from diverse perspectives.

The Global Engagement Office acts in concert with academic departments and programs, the Dean’s Office, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Athletics, and the Provost’s Office to create an environment for holistic student development.

Global Engagement Goals

Global Engagement accomplishes its mission and supports the larger Swarthmore mission by focusing its work in three areas: education abroad, campus internationalization, and campus-wide risk management. Global Engagement is committed to promoting educational equity among all Swarthmore students by creating a welcoming environment for learners of all types and supporting all students, no matter their sex, race, color, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender idereal or perceived) to an appropriate education abroad experience.

  • Global Engagement offers a variety of international opportunities and aims to be a gateway to all international experiences.
  • Global Engagement provides support services for students conducting research and internships abroad.
  • Global Engagement approves high-quality education abroad opportunities and follows best practices through the following practices:
    1. Global Engagement education abroad opportunities are reviewed by the Global Engagement committee.
    2. Swarthmore programs have a regular schedule of evaluation.
    3. Global Engagement staff remain abreast of national education abroad standards.
    4. Global Engagement is a member of NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad, the Institute of International Education, and the Academic Working Group of the Overseas Security Council of the State Department

Student Learning Objectives

Global Engagement supports student development by articulating concrete and measurable learning objectives and promoting holistic student development during a student’s entire academic career at Swarthmore College.
Goal 1: Students will develop a strong sense of social and civic responsibility by:

  • Connecting and applying classroom learning to their own participation in civic life, politics, and government.
  • Demonstrating ability and commitment to work actively within local community contexts and structures to achieve a civic aim.
  • Articulating their identity in a global context and using that knowledge to act in their own community with increased global awareness.
  • Taking informed and responsible action to address ethical, social, and environmental challenges in global systems.
  • Evaluating the local and broader consequences of individual and collective interventions. 
Goal 2: Students will develop intercultural knowledge and competence by:
  • Demonstrating understanding of the complex history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices of different cultures.
  • Articulating how personal experiences have shaped students’ own cultural rules and biases.
  • Asking complex questions about other cultures and seeking out answers to these questions from multiple cultural perspectives.
  • Demonstrating a deeper understanding of their field of study by integrating life experiences from a variety of contexts.
  • Demonstrating effective oral and written communication skills in an intercultural context. 
Goal 3: Students will demonstrate their ability to evaluate and apply diverse perspectives to complex situations in the face of multiple and even conflicting positions (e.g. cultural, disciplinary, and ethical) by:
  • Acting in a supportive manner that recognizes the perspectives of another cultural group.  
  • Articulating a complex understanding of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication and skillfully negotiating a shared understanding based on those differences.
  • Evaluating complex situations and applying innovative solutions to global challenges that are appropriate to their contexts using multiple disciplinary perspectives.
  • Interacting with peoples of other cultures in a receptive, non-judgmental manner. 

Definition of Key Terms

  • Social Responsibility
    Awareness of social dynamics and subsequent active leadership in the pursuit of social justice
  • Civic Responsibility
    Active participation in civil society that reflects an understanding of the democratic process and prioritizes justice and humanity 
  • Global Context
    An understanding of the connections between the individual, society, nation-state, and the world
  • Global Self-Awareness
    The continuum through which students develop a mature, integrated identity with a systemic understanding of the interrelationships among the self, local and global communities, and the natural and physical world
  •  Global Systems
    The complex and overlapping worldwide systems, including natural systems (those systems associated with the natural world including biological, chemical, and physical sciences) and human systems (those systems developed by humans such as cultural, economic, political, and built), which operate in observable patterns and often are affected by or are the result of human design or disruption. These systems influence how life is lived and what options are open to whom.
  •  Intercultural Knowledge and Competence
    A set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts