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Newcomb-Tulane College's Center for Global Education Honored with 2020 President's Departmental Excellence Award

December 09, 2020 1:15 PM

Newcomb-Tulane College's Center for Global Education was one of 24 departmental teams recognized with a 2020 Presidential Departmental Excellence Award. Each year, this award is presented to a Tulane department or team whose achievements support and advance the university's mission to transform the Tulane experience.

In her nomination for the Center for Global Education, Dean Skinner says its three units, the Office of Study Abroad, the Office of International Students and Scholars, and English for Academic and Professional Purposes, "performed superbly in responding to COVID-19 and the stresses on our students, and the Center’s overall strategy of fostering a deep understanding of the importance of international issues and global citizenship has helped promote our institutional values of diversity and inclusion."

The Office of Study Abroad

Last spring, over 150 students were studying outside the United States when the pandemic began its rapid spread outside of China and international universities closed. The Office of Study Abroad worked literally around the clock, doing outreach to students, fielding calls and emails from concerned parents, and sending rapid and thorough communication to students as individual universities closed and then as entire countries went into lockdown. When it became clear that we needed to cancel all study abroad and bring our students home as quickly as possible before borders closed and international travel became impossible, CGE and OSA teams worked with Enterprise Risk Services and World Travel to arrange flights home for students from countries ranging from Colombia and Morocco to Australia and France. All of our students were home within a week, safe and sound, and continued their study abroad academic courses online.

With fall study abroad programs also canceled, the Office of Study Abroad has imagined new ways to foster a sense of internationalism among Tulane students. OSA organized global-themed events, such as a series on Black Lives Matter in the Global Context which included virtual panel discussions and film screenings. More lightheartedly, they’ve also created a GroupMe for students interested in exploring other food cultures, the International Cookbook Club.

The Office of International Students & Scholars

When Tulane closed its campus in March and sent students home, many of our international students were unable to return to their home countries due to border closures. Others faced immediate and unexpected financial challenges in doing so. OISS worked closely with student affairs to support the students and provide emergency funding. The OISS team continuously nominated students for Institute of International Education grants during IIE's multiple calls for nominations. They also partnered with NTC's Center for Academic Equity to raise funds for the Tulane International/Undocumented Student Emergency Fund to support these students during the global pandemic, as they are unable to receive any federal aid. In addition to these efforts, the OISS team has also been navigating travel restrictions and embassy and consulate closures that have stalled visa applications and renewals.

English for Academic & Professional Purposes 

The English for Academic & Professional Purposes instructors teach three undergraduate courses each semester and additional courses for graduate students at the request of the schools offering graduate programs, especially law and business. EAPP also organizes and runs NTC's intensive pre-college program for conditionally admitted students, Tulane Advantage. When it became clear that our international students would not be able to come to campus for TU Advantage 2020, our EAPP instructors created a fully online version of the program and students enrolled in it without missing a beat. All EAPP courses are now fully online, to meet the needs of our students abroad. 

A Combined Unit

The Center for Global Education has risen to meet the nonstop demands that the pandemic has placed on every single one of them—and on our students. Always with the goal of ensuring that students have the best possible academic experience, CGE is committed to promoting global opportunities even in these challenging times.

– Dean Lee Skinner, Newcomb-Tulane College

The Center for Global Education drew on all three units to create a brand new program this fall for our Chinese students, TU Global in Shanghai. Very rapidly, CGE worked with our partner, the Council on International Educational Exchange, to create a real Tulane experience in Shanghai, using space at a local university. CGE also collaborated with Tulane academic departments to establish course equivalencies for a rich set of in-person classes that satisfy Tulane requirements and to make sure that the Chinese students also had access to online classes taught in New Orleans at times that account for the 13-hour time zone difference. CGE created advertising materials for TU Global in Shanghai, communicated quickly with all our students in China, leading to 185 students from all four years enrolling in the program. To further welcome these students, CGE created a virtual orientation and organized in-person programs in Shanghai, connecting them with Tulane alumni in the city. They sent the students gift bags including Tulane-branded umbrellas and organized a Halloween cruise where the students got their gifts, watched a video with Professor Matt Sakakeeny in Music about the New Orleans second line tradition, and then danced to New Orleans brass band music.

Center for Global Education Team

Meredith Connelly Deah Gulley Joseph Michel Belinda Schneider
Robert Connor Kabir Hingorani Punjabi Elizabeth Nazar Sarah Spromberg
John DePriest Evan Kirk Alice Popescu Crystal Vicknair
Siena Farrar Nancy Lauland Elizabeth Rafferty Qing Yu
Anne Gibson Mary Love Megan Ritterbusch