Hanson talks about plan for global studies

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February 7, 2011

11:20 PM

Steve Hanson, the second candidate for the position of vice provost for international affairs and director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, shared his vision of the College of William and Mary’s international future at an open forum Monday in the Wren Building’s Great Hall.

Currently a professor of political science and the vice provost for global affairs at the University of Washington, Hanson believes that “globalization” is a buzz word in higher education.

For Hanson, globalization is split into three dimensions: socio-cultural, infrastructural, and institutional, and that every undergraduate student should understand these aspects.

“It’s important to re-learn the lessons of human history, that we are all interconnected,” Hanson said. “If you don’t teach people today the history of the world, the cultures of the world, the languages of the world, the ability to think outside one’s own inherited perspective, to empathize with the point of view of another, to argue intelligently with another is severely limited.”

A large portion of his philosophy has been influenced by a look at the post-Soviet world. According to Hanson, the fact that many people see the patterns of the Soviet-world and believe that different societies are painted in black-and-white, or that everyone should think and act the same, is flawed. Hanson stated that, in reality, cultural differences are abundant, and successful international students must understand that.

Hanson said that the College is the perfect place to grow international relations, in part due to the liberal arts programs offered. He explained that, with a liberal arts curriculum, focus is placed on learning world cultures in a way that an engineering school does not, and people from other parts of the world understand and respect that.

“[The College] is an institution that has not turned its back on history and culture, and understanding the different frameworks of societies,” Hanson said. “It can compete very successfully in the world of higher [education], precisely due to the dignified history of liberal arts.”

Riall Nolan is scheduled to hold the third open forum in the Great Hall Thursday 4 p.m. Michael Allen and Linda Malone will present Feb. 15 and Feb. 17, respectively. Students are encouraged to write reviews online.

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