The development of civic capacities for the 21st century demands purposeful curricular and co-curricular design to attend to challenges confronting the world today. We live in an era marked by increased mobility – of people, information, and capital - alongside historically unprecedented human displacements and dispossessions. “Global-local engagement” and “full participation,” two guiding principles of the new Connections program and our curricular aims at large, are central goals of the Walter Commons. The Walter Commons strives to realize these by providing the conceptual framework needed to produce deep intercultural literacies, attentiveness to the politics of difference on micro and macro scales, capacities to draw connections across geopolitical boundaries, and awareness of the ways in which power undergirds old and new ways of knowing and being in the world.
Operating as a nexus for various institutional sites and resources, the Walter Commons aims to implement programming and other strategic initiatives to promote awareness of the intersections between social justice causes and a deep knowledge of other cultures. Priorities include:
- Advancing world language studies as a foundation for mutual learning across cultures and communities and for understanding complex world problems from a multiplicity of perspectives
- Expanding networked courses as a means of fostering critical intercultural awareness
- Integrating on-campus coursework in the major and study away
- Building robust, mutually reciprocal institutional partnerships at home and abroad to create opportunities for members of the campus community to participate more fully in scholarly collaborations, exchange programs, and ongoing civic projects.