Students are “discovering global citizenship” locally and internationally through the opportunities the Quality Enhancement Plan offers that reflect the TCU mission statement.
Through various programs on campus and around the world, some students have found a way to define their TCU mission through the QEP’s six initiatives in developing global responsibility.
The six initiatives include visiting scholars, virtual voyage, TCU abroad, global academy, local global leaders and global innovators. Students can utilize each initiative in their own way to find the best fit to help them become responsible global citizens.
“The QEP is a plan and idea developed to increase university engagement with the world, and to sustain that engagement to take the student experience deeper,” QEP global innovator leader James English said.
Realizing that many students at TCU are unable to study abroad and become a global citizen in that manner, an idea to provide and create programs for students to experience diverse cultures in other ways was formed.
In keeping with TCU’s mission statement, there is an opportunity to bring more visitors to campus through the use of both technology and direct events, QEP director Ed McNertney said.
Each year, a different region of the world is the focus of the QEP so students are exposed to different parts of the world. This year, the QEP created events on campus and established travel programs throughout the year that relate to Africa and the Caribbean.
“It is not just about bringing someone on to campus and then forgetting about it, but really about understanding how to sustain their work at TCU and in their home country,” Mike Slattery, director of the Institute for Environmental Studies said.
One recent event through the QEP was the global academy trip to Panama over spring break. The students worked with non-governmental organizations to build plans to improve their current situations in Panama while experiencing a new culture.
Junior communication studies major Nikki Woodward, who went on the trip, said after going to Panama, Woodward said she realized that understanding the standard of living in different countries will be able to help her later on in life.
The students on the trip had to express their growth and understanding of the Panamanian culture through a presentation to locals, faculty and TCU alumni in the area at the end of the trip.
The global academy, who orchestrated the trip, also provides students opportunities to go through an interdisciplinary experience, consisting of students with various interests.
“The variety of knowledge that was there made the experience unique,” sophomore film-TV-digital media Abel Perez-Arita said.
Students from all different majors can be a part of the global academy, providing an opportunity to work with students that one may not have otherwise met. These students have the opportunity to experience a local communities first–hand, such as by participating in the Atlantic Slave Trade Bus Tour last semester.
The bus tour took the students to New Orleans and different parts of Louisiana to experience actual plantations and the quarters in which slaves used to live in.
“Just to be on an actual planation where things actually happened made the impact so much stronger” said first-year history major and participant of the bus tour Samuel Ramirez.
Another student participant, first-year nutritional sciences major Miguel Angel Lopez, said though a big part of his trip was to learn history academically, he learned more about modern times in New Orleans.
He said that people he encountered were more open, and he got to interact with a completely different culture from Texas by traveling just a state away.
Innovators and technology transform the program
A large part of the QEP as well are the global innovators that come to campus to invest in the students at TCU and bring opportunities to carry out the mission statement.
A global innovator is someone who is doing groundbreaking work in certain areas that have social, political or economic impact in the society where they live and someone who students can learn from, Manochehr Dorraj, a political science professor and QEP global innovator initiative leader said.
One such global innovator, Dr. William Fowlds, will be on campus from April 17-26, working with students and visiting classrooms and local high schools.
Dr. Fowlds is from South Africa and will be working closely with 22 selected students on a “Blueprint for Survival” for the rhino crisis in his country.
Dr. Fowlds spends much of his time documenting and sharing his personal testimony of the brutal reality of poaching from the coal face of rhinos and working toward a rhino conservation plan.
Students such as junior entrepreneurial management major Allison Laws said she hopes to create a blueprint that can save the lives of rhinos and stabilize the current population.
The 22 selected students will not be the only students able to work with and meet Dr. Fowlds. There will be opportunities for all students to experience his presence on campus and learn about global situations that they can have an active role in helping, Slattery said.
Slattery said the QEP will send a few students from the 22 that work closely with Dr. Fowlds to go to South Africa over the summer to reveal the blueprint.
In addition to helping implement activities with global innovators and other speakers on campus, Singleton is also responsible for the new aspect of the QEP, the virtual voyage.
He said the long-term goal of virtual voyage to use technology to engage with communities where it isn’t necessarily safe to go, but still important for students to understand and invest in. Upcoming events will be a livestream of a Rwanda genocide remembrance in Washington, D.C. on April 6.
Leaders of the QEP still stress that the point of the program is to allow an opportunity for students to advance the mission of TCU by becoming ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community. If students graduate if a better understanding of the world, the leaders will define it successful.
“At the very least, if every person who graduates at TCU is a better informed citizen about these global issues due to the influence of the QEP, then I think it’s a success,” Slattery said.