New Certificate Program Strives To Help Students Boost Global Awareness

The Certificate in Global Engagement is open to all undergraduate students that provides the opportunity to quantify cross-cultural experiences on and off campus. | Courtesy of Global Baylor

By Savannah Cooper | Reporter

There’s no better time to work, travel and study abroad than the duration of your collegiate years, and the Center for Global Engagement has made such a life changing opportunity a tangible reality through their newest program.

Starting in the fall 2018 semester, all undergraduate students are able to pursue a Certificate in Global Engagement. The program is housed under Global Baylor, a new university-supported initiative that’s encouraging students to pursue cross-cultural experiences.

The certificate allows its participants to enrich their time at Baylor by offering a structured list of components that boosts global awareness. Components range from attending Chapel and participating in a reading group to enrolling in global engagement courses and spending a semester or summer abroad.

Assistant director of Global Baylor, Bobby Leis, hopes this certificate program will connect groups of students who wouldn’t have crossed paths otherwise.

“What we hope to do with this certificate program is to get all students who are involved in human flourishing on a global level over in missions, study abroad (with) the academic component, student groups with international focus,” Leis said. “There are all these pockets of students in different groups that are involved in the global community. This certificate is one way for all those students to get pulled together which is exciting. It’s also a way for students who aren’t in one of those groups to get pulled into that bigger group.”

Examination, exploration and engagement are the three main components within the certificate program that total to 100 points.

Examination (30 points) explores the early stages of how cultural exposure impacts one’s worldview. Students can gain points within this category by simply attending Chapel, watching films on global issues or participating in multicultural or religious events.

Exploration (40 points) goes a step further into active involvement on campus for students where they can develop and find what they’re passionate about. To satisfy this requirement, students can take two 3,000-level global engagement courses of their choice ranging from The Developing Child to Italian Through Film, and they can participate in peer mentoring along with participating in PAWS (People Around the World Sharing) — a program that connects U.S. students and families to international students to help ease their transition process to American culture.

Engagement (30 points) puts prior learning to tangible practice and meaningful experiences across communities and the globe. To fulfill this section, students can study abroad for a semester or summer term, serve with a Baylor Mission trip or undergo a poverty simulation.

Program Manager for Global Baylor Holly Joyner wants this certificate to be the extra push some students might need to pursue things they wouldn’t have otherwise.

“Hopefully this certificate is that extra nudge for some of them and then for students who have done a lot of these pieces, but they just never thought of a way to bring them all together or even think about how they were interconnected” Joyner said.

To register for the certificate program, students can go to the Center for Global Engagement website.

Both Joyner and Leis have found that many Baylor students have had international and cross-cultural experiences, but they sometimes struggle to expand and quantify the significance of their travels. Leis said she knows how hard it can be and sees this certificate as something a student can walk away with from Baylor and into a job or graduate school interview.

“I think it’s really hard sometimes to explain the things you’ve done,” Leis said. “The experiences students have are profound, and they can talk about it anecdotally — but it is hard to quantify or explain in a job interview or graduate school application, but this is something students can walk away with.”

For those who are hesitant or have fear of missing out on a Baylor football season, recruitment or a potential ring by spring, Joyner, a Baylor alumna, knows from first hand experience that you’ll never regret leaving campus to go abroad.

“As someone who lives and dies green and gold, I missed a fall football season and will never regret it,” Joyner said. “I went to Japan for a semester, and it was a separate stand alone experience. I was dating my now husband at the time. We were okay for six months apart.”

The Certificate in Global Engagement is free of charge to any and all undergraduate students.

Those who complete the certificate will be rewarded by a distinction on your transcript. Both Joyner and Leis are holding live advising appointments for students to discuss what a student already has accomplished as well as a plan for what is left to complete.

For more information about the program, email global_baylor@baylor.edu