I’ve just gotten back from a great conference in DC. I love to travel and go to conferences, especially when I’m “in the flow” and I keep meeting interesting people or things happen. First of all, I missed the snow storm by hours and got out of
The conference was the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization Collaborative annual meeting. I know it’s another absurdly long title. But WMU is part of this collaborative of higher education institutions that are trying to work towards better international programs. The buzzword this time was “comprehensive internationalization.” Western has some pretty impressive programs going, but we are still looking at how to make sure every graduate is ready to function in the ever changing global environment, even if they don’t do study abroad or don’t hang out with our international students.
I attended one of the pre-conferences that was focused on doing an Internationalization Review, and extended process of evaluating where you are and where you want to go. I am in an International Education Council (IEC) working group trying to review the state of Western’s internationalization across the curriculum, but I think we might need to think more broadly about reviewing all of our internationalization efforts and seeing how they interconnect or could connect. I also found myself thinking how we could apply this to the library. We are doing this with our strategic planning, various task forces, LibQual and other initiatives, but I’m not seeing where we are going clearly. Maybe it’s just me.
The conference itself consisted of plenary sessions with panels, and breakout discussion groups on the topic presented either by discipline or type of institution we represented. Many interesting projects and initiatives were presented. Some stick out in my mind:
Global Design Studio (IUPUI) – an architecture professor works with his students on real life situations throughout the world and has students design appropriate housing for people who have lost their homes in disasters like Katrina in New Orleans and the tsunami in Indonesia. They work with local communities as well as local companies to make sure they are fulfilling actual needs. This has expanded way beyond architecture into an interdisciplinary project, where students and faculty from other university departments are involved - environmentalists, health workers, social workers, journalists, and more.
The most library oriented thing I did was my meeting with the head of the European Reading Room at the Library of Congress. I am going to be on his panel about the changes in book chambers in the post-Soviet republics at the Slavic studies conference in November. We will look at how many of these national bibliography agencies have been incorporated into the national libraries. After discussing our panel, we had a wonderful Indian dinner prepared by his French wife. (He specializes in
During a break on the second day, I just had to stretch my legs and went outside to find a beautiful sunny day. As I walked down the block I came upon the Society of the
After the conference was over, I needed to air my brain, before heading to an evening with my friends. I went to see the Vietnam Memorial. It definitely has a reverent aura around it, especially in light of the ongoing loss of American lives overseas. I hadn’t climbed up to see
To end my delightful experience, at my friends, we played Cranium – I was partnered with my 10 year old goddaughter, and we had fun guessing each other’s charades, songs, drawings, spelling words backwards, running around the house finding things, figuring out words in categories. We tried to do most of it in Latvian, but some of the word games had to stay in English.