Global education in an uncertain time


Welcome 1024 427 Tamara Williams

Reflecting on the state of the world and our own communities can be overwhelming. Unprecedented migrant and refugee crises throughout the globe, including our own southern border, have rekindled debates about national identity, boundaries and security. Long-sought-after civil and human rights face erosion. Drug- and gun-related violence, mass killings and terrorist attacks cripple some communities, heightening fear and mistrust in others. Meanwhile, human and non-human species confront the consequences of climate change.

Pacific Lutheran University is tasked with preparing students to live, learn, serve and lead in a world beset by these and many other challenges. However, while acknowledging these realities, our Lutheran heritage calls us to express a bold trust in the potential for making a positive difference. The stories in this issue of ResoLute embody this spirit of confidence and hope, as well as academic rigor, commitment, integrity and conviction. These values set PLU apart as faculty, students, staff and alumni pursue their chosen work worldwide.

The university is well equipped to provide the academic preparation and experiential opportunities required to incite positive change in the challenging global context of the 21st century. Grounded in a clear mission, guided by enlightened leadership and supported by generous donors and foundations, the institution began the process of creating a global campus decades ago, emerging as a national leader in 2009 upon receipt of the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

The award recognizes PLU’s consistently high percentages of graduates who study away. It underscores the scope and delivery of global education in on-campus curricular offerings and in the ongoing commitment to, and recruitment of, international students. It stresses the importance of the Wang Center for Global Education, which engages with educational partners worldwide and provides faculty, students and staff with necessary resources to advance PLU’s distinction and vision for “educating for a just, healthy, sustainable, and peaceful world at home and abroad.”

The extraordinary breadth, depth and variety of PLU’s global education offerings provide multiple points of entry, through experiences here and abroad. Whether it’s an International Honors Program course on campus, a January Term in Greece or Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, or a full-semester program in one of PLU’s signature Gateway programs, PLU provides diverse opportunities to develop the skills to navigate the challenges of an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The university prepares Lutes to tackle even the most intractable issues that define our present day.

Tamara Williams

Tamara R. Williams is a professor of Hispanic studies with expertise in the Latin American region. Before assuming the role of executive director of the Wang Center for Global Education, she taught Spanish language at many levels as well as courses focused on Latin American literatures and cultures. She is co-founder, along with Professor John Lear (University of Puget Sound), of the fall semester program in Oaxaca, Mexico. At PLU, she has been a tireless advocate for global education.

All stories by:Tamara Williams