Fries Center for Global Studies launches Internationalizing the Curriculum Initiative

By most measures, Wesleyan University is a fairly internationalized institution. There is the Fries Center for Global Studies, fifteen languages are taught, study abroad participation is healthy, there are many international students and faculty, and we offer a range of courses dealing with international, transnational, and cross-cultural subjects. For many years, however, perhaps the most visible indicator of internationalization at Wesleyan has been student mobility. Inbound mobility – international students studying at Wesleyan – and outbound mobility – study abroad – have been strong. The inbound and outbound student flows have both been critical to promoting intercultural and global learning. 

What to do now, then, when students were sent home from spring 2020 study abroad, and fall 2020 study abroad has been suspended? Many of our international students will not be able to travel to campus, or will not want to risk traveling in the United States. Does this mean that global and intercultural learning should be put on hold until we can get on planes again? 

In order to continue to promote intercultural and global learning, FCGS is holding a seminar designed to help faculty internationalize their courses and curriculum. Faculty members (including Department/College Chairs, Center Directors, and/or Academic Deans, if available) will come together to discuss their efforts, past and future, to incorporate global perspectives and intercultural learning into their teaching and curriculum. There will be four two-hour seminar meetings in fall 2020, facilitated by Emily Gorlewski, Ed.D., of the Fries Center for Global Studies, in which participants will work together toward a Wesleyan definition and process for internationalization. The outcome for each participant should be a new course, a new unit of a course, an existing course re-worked, or other project in which each faculty member demonstrably internationalizes their teaching or their department’s curriculum. Faculty will present these projects to the FCGS and other faculty in spring 2021; the implementation of the projects should take place during the 2021 calendar year. Each faculty member will receive an honorarium of $500 to participate. A limited number of seats is available in the seminar. 

The reality is that, even when there is mobility, 60% of Wesleyan students do not study abroad, and international students are only a small part of the student population. Intercultural, global, and language learning are important components of a liberal arts education, and all students should have access to them, not only those who choose to study abroad. FCGS hopes that the Internationalizing the Curriculum Seminar will continue for years to come, even after mobility resumes. In this way, we continue to fulfill our mission to “advance the knowledge, language and intercultural skills, self-awareness, and empathy needed for responsible participation in an increasingly interdependent world.”  

Interested faculty should contact Emily Gorlewski at