This Fall, Baylor launched the Certificate in Global Engagement as part of the new Quality Enhancement Plan, Global Baylor: Addressing Challenges to Human Flourishing. Designed for undergraduate students across all majors, the certificate aims to develop cultural competency, encourage global responsibility and facilitate participation in solutions to global challenges. Through these learning outcomes, students gain further preparation for worldwide leadership and a marketable credential.
Participating students will rise through three levels—Entry, Exploration and Engagement—to accrue at least 100 points through qualifying coursework and activities, including Chapel, reading groups and global engagement such as missions or study abroad. Certificate program administrator Robert Leis, assistant director of Global Baylor, stresses the comprehensive and experiential aspects of the certificate, which he says encapsulates for students the objectives of the broader Global Baylor plan.
“It's a combination of things that they're going to be doing to explore their own personal culture and cultures other than their own, things they're going to be doing inside the classroom and outside the classroom...,” Leis said. “Students have to explore all of the global opportunities that Baylor is able to create for them both here and abroad to get the certificate.”
Currently, 83 courses in varied subject areas count toward the certificate, with plans to expand the quantity and scope going forward. Leis expects the program will continue to grow and naturally gain momentum due to the existing campus community of globally engaged students and professors who already participate in many of the activities the certificate program entails.
“Tapping into that community is an important thing because those students are going to realize, ‘hey, I want to do the certificate because I want to do these things anyway,’” Leis said, noting the many campus venues for global engagement, including Baylor and Beyond and Spiritual Life.
The cultivation of a global community complements the required coursework. Leis believes that by connecting students with opportunities for global engagement on campus and beyond, the certificate program will broaden their vision of the world and the ways they can impact it through their calling.
“I think as students work through the certificate program, they'll have a better idea upon graduation of ‘this is where I'm needed’ or ‘this is where my skill set should go’ or ‘this is where my degree is going to take me,’” Leis said. “And I think some of that guidance early on, some of that exposure early on, is going to make it easier for those students upon graduation.”