Brazil sustainability program to be implemented by 2010

Bonnie Melhart found the perfect place to start TCU’s new study abroad option on a recent trip to Brazil.

“When I went there, it seemed so perfect we stopped looking,” said Melhart, associate provost of academic affairs.

The university hopes to implement its Global Academy program by 2010, a program designed to help foster an international interdisciplinary approach to study abroad by giving students the opportunity to study such issues as sustainability, ethics, leadership and intercultural learning on a global scale, said Jane Kucko, director for the Center for International Studies.

The program was conceived the summer before the start of the 2006-2007 academic year, Kucko said, and will take on a sustainability theme in Brazil.

Kucko said Russia and China are two possibilities that the program’s administrators would like to look into using as future locations.

Flexibility is the key in the selection of Global Academy’s location, as it will vary by year as well as in the theme that students study, Kucko said. The program is interdisciplinary, so all students will be invited to participate, she said.

Naming the program proved the most challenging for those involved who were trying to convey the program’s meaning.

“We toyed around with all kinds of titles and decided we needed something that indicated that it was a global effort and an academic endeavor,” Melhart said. “The Global Academy made sense.”

Kucko said the program’s primary concern currently is funding, for which program administrators are currently exploring the utilization of scholarship funds to help with student expenses. The problem will not hinder implementation, which is scheduled for 2010, Kucko said.

With both the location and theme of Global Academy set into play, many of those involved are growing anxious with what the program will offer to the university and the community.

“The first-hand experience of being abroad and learning from locals and from TCU professors about major international issues is unparalleled,” wrote Tracy Williams, associate director of the Center for International Studies, in an e-mail.