University Park, IL,
09:41 AM

College of Arts & Sciences Receives International Studies Grant

In keeping with the core values of Governors State University, the campus should feel more inclusive and reflect more diverse perspectives thanks to a federal grant that will boost study abroad opportunities, fund special events, and expand cultural resources.

The College of Arts and Sciences received a $168,000 two-year grant from the Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) program to make Spanish and Global Studies more accessible to students.

The UISFL Program is a discretionary program designed to strengthen and improve undergraduate instructional programs in the areas of International Studies and Foreign Languages.

“Building on the early success of our Spanish and Global Studies minors, a UISFL grant will contribute to our ability to make off-campus study accessible to students, to enrich our Spanish for the Professions courses, and to further infuse global programming into campus life,” wrote  Professor Jelena Radovic-Fanta and Professor Novia Pagone.

The study abroad opportunity for spring 2022 will include a student travel stipend. “It will give students the opportunity to travel to a Latin American country and learn firsthand about the culture, history, and diversity that unites the American continent,” said Dr. Radovic-Fanta.

Funding also will support cultural events open to the entire Governors State community. “We hope to increase awareness of topics related to Latin America, the Caribbean, and U.S. Latinos/Latinas,” said Dr. Pagone.

Activities are already underway to commemorate Latinx Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15). Governors State hosted a virtual movie night in September featuring “Días de Luz” (“Days of Light”) at the Chicago Latino Film Festival followed by an online panel discussion.

Other events to be hosted online to ensure participants’ safety during COVID-19 will include the upcoming “Voices of Fall” bilingual poetry event and a Speaker Series. Some activities have been postponed until spring including a visit to the National Museum of Mexican Art and a tour of the murals in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

Grant funding also will enable the GSU Library to create a Language Resource Archive with books, films, and language learning applications in Spanish.

The grant also may enable the university to offer a new Global Studies course, Afro-Latino Cultures of Latin America, and to support current Spanish faculty in becoming certified to conduct the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Oral Proficiency Interview.

The projects and expanded resources will make a difference for Governors State students, who are often balancing study, work, and family responsibilities, Radovic-Fanta and Pagone agreed. According to the application, participating in activities outside the classroom “will provide skills, knowledge, and experience (students need) to be competitive in the employment marketplace and in graduate programs.”