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April 14, 2003

La Salle University Offers New Minor
in "Leadership and Global Understanding"

Beginning next fall, La Salle University will offer students a new minor concentration in "Leadership and Global Understanding," which "seeks to educate students for civic responsibility and leadership in a culturally diverse society."

Students earning a minor in "Leadership and Global Understanding" will combine coursework, foreign study/travel programs, service learning and leadership designed to foster global and cultural understanding.

"Since 9-11, it has become clear that we really live in a global community that is ever- changing," said Robert Vogel, a La Salle professor of education and one the program's three coordinators. "It is our responsibility as professors to prepare students not only to thrive in such a world, but also hopefully to remedy some of the inequalities."

The minor will be overseen by Vogel, Marjorie Allen, a professor of English at La Salle, and Louise Giugliano, Associate Director of University Ministry and Service at the University, who worked with Vogel to design the program.

"There are many universities and colleges offering programs which prepare students to become involved citizens within their community, but we felt such programs did not have enough emphasis on students taking charge of their own learning. The student centered pedagogy teaches students to apply knowledge and solve real problems through participation in important experiences," said Allen. This program encourages critical thought and thorough investigations of substantial content and issues that are student driven, added Vogel.

The minor is designed to be "experiential" in nature, and each of the six required courses has a service-learning component that requires students to take leadership roles as well as participate in volunteer service. Additionally, students will be assigned a mentor in the community who will serve as a role model for leadership and civic involvement.

Students will take a total of six courses: "Introduction to Global Leadership and Understanding"; a communication and culture course; two or three cultural connection travel study courses; an elective approved by the faculty; and "Studies in Leadership and Global Understanding"--a capstone course. During this course, students will conduct independent research and prepare a portfolio to document the work they have done throughout the semester.

A final portfolio that integrates the work from this course with previous courses and travel study experiences will culminate in a "reflective" exhibit of the student's work throughout the minor. The portfolio is to be a product of the students' own personal experience and growth, not merely a collection of graded work already returned. It must be an active reflection upon that work, according to the program coordinators.

Giugliano, who will be overseeing the placement of students into service-learning and mentoring situations, says the timing for the minor could not be more appropriate.

"Do we need more evidence than we currently have that we are living at a time when students need to be prepared for such a challenge? I am excited to be working with this program because students will have the opportunity to focus on their own identity as engaged citizens and grapple with issues of domestic and global challenges that are ripe for these times," she said.

Vogel, Allen and Giugliano also said the minor presented the opportunity to form a first-ever academic partnership with the Division of Student Affairs at La Salle (of which Ministry and Service is a component). "We envisioned this program as being university-wide," said Allen.

The minor is open to any undergraduate student regardless of major. Students wishing to begin the minor next fall must contact Allen, Vogel or Giugliano as soon as possible. Enrollment in the introductory course is limited to 15.