Aligned with UNC’s Academic Plan, which prioritizes equity and inclusion and global engagement, the Center for Global Initiatives is spearheading a major pan-university effort to significantly increase the number of traditionally underrepresented students who have access to global opportunities.
This effort, which is research-based and data-driven, opens access to students regardless of their academic discipline, age, disabilities, educational or family background, gender identity, racial or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.
The effort also defines “global opportunities” broadly to encompass:
1) Educational opportunities abroad (including experiential learning, internships, research, service-learning and study abroad);
2) Global opportunities on campus (such as coursework in foreign languages and in diverse disciplines such as Business, Education, and Nursing; and events such as exhibits, lectures, and research showcases); and
3) Globally-oriented engagement in the community (for example engagement with K-12 classrooms or immigrant populations).
The goal is to raise, for example, the number of Education majors studying abroad, students with disabilities conducting global internships, males taking more foreign languages, Native Americans earning Fulbright awards, students with significant financial need performing global public service, and first generation college students applying to join the foreign service.
UNC will accomplish this goal through programming that addresses 3 major barriers to global education found in the literature: financial barriers that include not only the lack of funds to take advantage of global opportunities but also the burden of lost wages; cultural barriers that include lack of awareness of global opportunities and of their positive academic and career benefits, not conceiving of oneself as the kind of person who takes advantage of such opportunities, and parental fear and opposition to them; and institutional barriers that include curricular constraints, uneven advising and information flows, and unequal preparation.
This effort is significant because it strengthens UNC academically and it ensures equity of resources for all.