McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives

Building Global Competence


From left, Immigration Specialist and Senior Administrative Assistant Jennifer Medina, Dean of International Students Donna van Handle ’74, Dean of International Studies Joanne Such Picard MA ’86, Director of International Experiential Learning Kirk Lange, Carol Hoffman Collins Director Eva Paus, and Administrative Assistant Fatoumata Gadjigo. Photo by Chris Connell, NAFSA

The McCulloch Center leads Mount Holyoke College’s commitment to expand students’ global competence. Through courses, conferences, research, international internships, study abroad, and collaborations with external partners, students acquire the skills needed for citizenship and careers in today’s global world. The exceptional international diversity of our community offers a powerful context for building global competence.

Here’s a look back at some highlights from the Center’s first ten years:

  • The Center was founded in 2004 to implement strategic internationalization within the entire community of faculty, students, staff, and alumnae. Study abroad, international student services, and immigration services were incorporated into the newly created entity. The Center also created a new position: director of international experiential learning.
  • Also in 2004, the Center began a Global Scholar-in-residence program. Each scholar visits six to eight classes, gives a public lecture and faculty seminar, and meets informally with students and faculty during a weeklong stay. More than 2,500 students and 100 faculty have engaged in discussions with the scholars.
  • In 2006 the Center launched biennial Global Challenges classes, which are taught by teams of MHC faculty and culminate in a conference with leading scholar-practitioners from around the world to analyze a particular global challenge and to explore policy solutions. More than twenty-five faculty members and 1,000 students have participated so far.
  • In 2007 the Center’s staff began meeting with faculty in various departments to leverage their international connections and create summer internships for their students. The Center also increased its fundraising efforts, working with foundations and alumnae.

The McCulloch Center entryway in Dwight Hall. Photo by James Gehrt

  • In 2009 the Center, along with Goucher College, partnered with the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica to create a semester-long interdisciplinary program that analyzes global and local sustainability. The Center also partnered with Sookmyung Women’s University in South Korea and BLCU in China.
  • In 2011 the Center launched the VP-50 project that supports faculty to bring global perspectives into the classroom through teleconferencing. Forty-five faculty members have participated to date. The American Council on Education and the SUNY-COIL Center recognized the VP-50 program with a national award in 2014.
  • In 2012 the Center introduced a college-wide course called Tying It All Together: Curriculum to Career, which culminates with a daylong LEAP Symposium, during which students present their work to the community.
  • In 2013, the College announced that it would fund one summer internship or research experience for all MHC students. In response to this commitment, the McCulloch Center expanded its efforts to develop internship opportunities, re-establishing the International Internship Program, providing meaningful internships for more than sixty students in twenty countries that year.
  • In fall 2014, the Center identified an acronym that summarizes the goal for Global Learning: CHANGE
    • Cultivate global awareness and engage across difference
    • Harness knowledge for the solution of pressing global problems
    • Appreciate how societies respond differently to common needs
    • Nurture an ethic of responsibility for making the world more just and sustainable
    • Gain understanding of global challenges, their origin and implications
    • Employ another language to communicate across cultural diversity
  • In March 2015, NAFSA announces that Mount Holyoke College is one of five colleges and universities to receive the 2015 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.

Read about how a Mount Holyoke education provides an international experience. »

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