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Global learning produces career-ready graduates at York College

Global learning produces career-ready graduates at York College

  • The school’s Strategic Plan 2.0 paints a vision of graduates prepared to compete in global environments. Global learning initiatives are helping to make that goal a reality.

When you hear the phrase “global learning,” you probably picture study-abroad students exploring the Parthenon’s ancient columns or the intricacies of India’s Taj Mahal.  

At York College of Pennsylvania, while study abroad is a piece of the puzzle, global learning goes much deeper.  

Global-minded, career-ready graduates 

Dr. David Fyfe, Associate Professor of Geography, has been leading the charge to broaden global learning opportunities at York College. Beyond studying abroad, those include helping students across disciplines gain cultural awareness while creating opportunities for faculty development.   

“What it comes down to is career readiness,” Dr. Fyfe says. “We’re finding a lot of literature is saying that future employers are looking for people with the ability to work with diverse teams, people with intercultural competency. They’re also looking for people with critical-thinking skills and the ability to understand global issues.” 

Helping guide York College into next-level global learning has been a long-time goal for Dr. Fyfe. He learned about the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Internationalization Laboratory while attending a conference several years ago.  

The lab works with institutions to help them achieve global learning goals. In 2019, the College became part of the lab’s 17th cohort.  

Four areas of focus 

While York College long has engaged in what ACE refers to as “random acts of internationalization,” such as study-abroad trips, Dr. Fyfe hopes the College can create a more institution-wide comprehensive plan.  

After an initial meeting with ACE in Washington, D.C., Dr. Fyfe put together a global leadership team with representatives from the College’s five schools. They began to explore ways to make York College more globally minded.  

After visiting the campus in 2021, ACE recommended that the College focus on four areas: developing an office of global learning; increasing faculty development opportunities; expanding opportunities and funding for faculty exchange and study abroad; and increasing the recruitment, enrollment, and support of international students. 

The College has hired Christian DiGregorio as Director of International Recruitment. He has been working to bring more international students to campus. Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, Dean of the Center for Community Engagement at the College, has worked with Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows to design grant-funded study-abroad experiences.  

But the key to expanding global learning in all disciplines, Dr. Fyfe says, is to create a Center for Global Learning. That initiative is on hold as the College prepares to say farewell to Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, the current president, who will retire in June.  

Making the world a better place

Dr. Fyfe hopes to see movement toward establishing the center within a year.  

“These successful initiatives will be made more available and have a larger impact as this center develops” he says.  

Dr. Fyfe envisions York College becoming a leader in global learning. 

“Global learning is important for everybody, especially intercultural competencies,” he says. “If we can come together with a common framework, we’re going to make York College a better place, we’re going to make our students better employees, and we’re going to make the world a better place as well.”