Academics: Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education

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Spelman College Response to Ebola Outbreak

 As part of its Going Global! initiative, Spelman College encourages each student to engage in international travel or a study abroad experience before graduation. The College’s global scholars travel throughout the academic year to Africa, Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of the globe to participate in internships, fellowships, and intercultural engagement programs.

 While the College opens the doors of opportunity for cultural and scholarly experiences, it is important to know that the health and safety of the student population is of foremost concern.

 To date, the Ebola outbreak has impacted West Africa, specifically Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. “Currently, Spelman College does not have faculty, staff or students participating in study abroad programs in these countries,” said Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D., associate provost for global education and professor of international studies. “To the best of our knowledge, we also do not have new international students or returning domestic students coming to Spelman from these West African countries.”

According to Dr. Togunde, the College is working with its study abroad providers to ensure that students who had planned to study in these West African countries are sent to other destinations.

Spelman’s Department of Student Health Services is also monitoring the progress of the Ebola outbreak. “As a result, we are following to the letter, protocols and guidelines of both the CDC and State Department,” said Brenda Dalton, Ph.D. director, Student Health Services.

About the Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education

Driven and inspired by Spelman College’s mission statement, the Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education reaffirms the College’s commitment to engage Spelman’s students with “many cultures of the world” and to widen their socioeconomic and political horizons in an increasingly complex and interdependent global society. In order to achieve global competency that students need to succeed as future professionals and global leaders, the center serves as the institutional focal point to cohere, enhance and lead the College’s global strategic initiatives embodied in the Spelman College Strategic Plan for 2015 and the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

Established through an anonymous endowment gift of $17 million, the Gordon-Zeto Center is led by Dimeji Togunde, Associate Provost for Global Education, to translate the College’s comprehensive and integrated internationalization initiatives into action. As an institutional space to expand Spelman’s long history of commitment to international education, the center provides leadership for the College’s efforts to internationalize the campus through curricular and co-curricular program enhancement; increased recruitment of international students and visiting scholars; promotion of study abroad and faculty/staff-led study travel programs for students; international service learning; and support for faculty global engagement.

The center serves as catalyst for forging fruitful collaborations and synergistic relationships among Spelman’s traditional academic departments; interdisciplinary studies programs; faculty committees; offices of enrollment management, undergraduate studies, college relations, institutional advancement, and student affairs to expand students’ conceptualization of the global community and their interactions with the local. Moreover, through cross-fertilization of ideas among diverse constituencies, the center aims at ensuring that students see the interconnectedness between domestic diversity and global diversity.

The Gordon-Zeto Center comprises five constituent parts: Study Abroad Office; Faculty/Staff-led Programs; Cultural Orientation Program that coordinates the required pre-departure study-travel seminar; International Affairs Center; and International Students’ Services and Programming. All the Gordon-Zeto programs are intentionally designed to provide a learning environment that engages students in comparative analysis of social systems that deepens their understanding of and appreciation for intercultural variation, as well as their ability to show openness to cultural difference.

The Gordon-Zeto Center provides leadership for the assessment of all global initiatives and streamlining of all global travel experiences. It also serves as a clearing house for building international partnerships with overseas institutions in a way that can achieve the realization of the learning outcomes of Spelman’s QEP.