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Global Humanitites Institute


What difference does it make?

January 26, 2018

What difference does it make?  As an educator in the Humanities, this is a question that guides my curricular and methodological decisions on a daily basis.  In a social climate of news bites, Snapchat and tweets and what in the classroom can feel like a race to cover all required material, how do I provide my students with opportunities to delve more deeply and meaningfully into global issues and realities?  How can I make the world available to them in an effort to broaden their perspectives to go beyond under-informed cultural assumptions?

Life has taught me that what changes hearts and minds about the unknown is direct contact with the unknown and this too has informed my teaching.  Over the past four years students from my beginning and intermediate Spanish classes have met virtually in a Global Classrooms experience with English students from the University of El Salvador, engaging with one another in both languages and comparing information ranging from cultural norms to university life to attitudes and actions related to the environment.  In many cases after an initial class-to-class meeting, individual students paired up and continued meeting on a one-on-one basis to further deepen their connection with each other.  In some cases, students continued their conversations beyond the semester’s end.

Pre-contact surveys revealed that, despite perhaps having Salvadoran co-workers or classmates, the vast majority of my students knew very little about the history and culture of El Salvador or of the historical and economic connections to the great number of Salvadorans in Montgomery County.  So, what difference did contact make?  Below are some student quotes taken from post-contact surveys:

“My perspective has changed as a result of this experience as in having a clearer view of the true lives lead in El Salvador. In the United States’ nation-centric culture, it is quite easy to imagine a country as a homogenous stereotype. This project helped shed light on the intersectional dynamics that exist within this foreign country. Giving a personal voice to those who exist in a life that we are not familiar with allows us to widen our world view.” 

“I would recommend that MC continue this cultural exchange because it shows the relevance of larger issues, such as climate change in places besides right here.  It forces us to step outside our microcosms and see the world from a new place in a new language.  The fact that these students are not so different from ourselves is important.  Communication--between people, states, countries--is so important.”

“Speaking with the students also brought home the difficulties they face.  I felt like my questions about the environment were truly "first world" questions, whereas so many in El Salvador are busy just getting by.”

As a language professor whose mission it is to help students find enjoyable and practical applications of the language as well as provide significant and authentic cultural experiences and material, reading these student perspectives is both encouraging and motivating.  My next task is to expand the Global Classrooms project to a longer-range project, further deepening students’ global knowledge and sharpening their skills as global citizens.  This is a task I embrace, in the hope that it will make a life-enhancing difference in the lives of my students and equip them in turn to make their own difference in the world.

Shelley Jones
Associate Professor of Spanish

Read past posts here>>

Global Humanities Justice Fund Student Scholarship

For exemplary performance in Introduction to Global Humanities, GHUM101

The Global Humanities Institute, in collaboration with the Peace and Justice Studies Community, proudly announces a scholarship to support the work of students and faculty actively involved in learning and teaching in the global humanities. 

The Global Humanities Justice Fund is created as an endowment by faculty in the Global Humanities Institute to energize, motivate, and support the passion of students and faculty. We strongly believe that adopting a broadly humanistic and global perspective on the issues that confront our world today is an important means of preparing students and faculty for a complex and intricate future, with issues, concerns and opportunities that are unprecedented. We know that in order to address the needs of our societies and communities in the future, we will need a deep understanding of our global interconnectedness. The interdisciplinary work of the global humanities makes possible this deeper understanding, putting a premium on people’s lives and the ways that mutual appreciation of cultural differences and similarities shape our realities.

Applications Due April 27, 2018
Please download the application form to be completed and submitted to the Montgomery College Foundation.  


STEaM Engine: Exploring the Intersection between Global Humanities and STEM through Energy 

Thursday, March 22, 2018
2:30–4:30 p.m.
Bioscience Education Center (BE 151), Germantown Campus

The annual STEaM event enables a much-needed collaboration between STEM fields and the Humanities. This interdisciplinary event addresses the need for this collaboration for the benefit of a substantive and deep student learning by focusing on a complex issue of global importance. The two-hour event will open with a welcome from Margaret Latimer, Provost and Vice President of the campus, and Sanjay Rai, Vice President for Academic Affairs, both of whom appreciate the need for this collaboration for the benefit of student learning and a more purposeful program of study as outlined in the College's newly revised General Education program.  Round table discussion are led by faculty from STEM and Humanities and Arts disciplines who share their own experience, pose questions, and share resources. 

More information 

GHUM101 Introduction to the Global Humanities 

 An interdisciplinary General Education course that focuses on contemporary issues about fairness, equality, and community around the world from the perspective of the humanities. This course is offered every semester on every campus. Register now for Spring 2018. A student scholarship is available for this course. Download the flyer for more details. 

GHUM101 Course Flyer [PDF]

One College, Many Voices

Montgomery College was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), titled “One College, Many Voices.” This grant will train faculty to integrate global content and perspectives into their teaching and focus on ways to help students improve intercultural competencies. Unlike our previous NEH grant, the focus now is to engage faculty in Communication Studies and in disciplines other than the Humanities. 

The fellowships will take place during the Spring 2018 semester and come with 1 ESH. The application form and information about the fellowship are linked below. The deadline to apply is Friday, November 3.

Call For Fellowship Applications | Fellowship Application Form

The Global Humanities Justice Fund 2017

 The Global Humanities Institute announces the creation of a new fund to support the work of students and faculty actively involved in learning and teaching in the global humanities.

A. Student Scholarship [Three available each year] 

B. Faculty Grant to Support Experiential Learning initiatives for Teaching the Global Humanities [Two available each academic year]  2017 GHI Justice Fund Faculty

Director's Message

The Global Humanities Institute was created in 2012 with the support of a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The NEH, the world’s largest supporter of the humanities, put forth a new initiative, Bridging Cultures, whose aim is to “engage the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.”

Why Globalize the Humanities?
Watch as the the founders of the Global Humanities Institute discuss the reasons why the humanities should be globalized and why the Global Humanities Institute is valuable to Montgomery College.


Campus Conversations

Humanities in Higher Education
This episode of Campus Conversations asks—What are the humanities and why should we study them? It also explores some of the humanities programs at Montgomery College.

View on the Campus Conversations web site.

NEH Humanities Magazine
Fulbright @ MC

Our Partners

Pulitzer Center, DC

NEH Logo

The Global Humanities Institute is a partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Help us Prepare Students for the Global Economy 

When you make a tax-deductible gift to the College’s Global Humanities Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant will provide 50% matching funds. Simply visit, or contact the Montgomery College Foundation for more information at (240) 567-7900.

Global Humanities Institute •  7600 Takoma Avenue • Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

For general program information contact Dr. Rita Kranidis, Program Director • (240) 567-1617 • 

For Web page questions, contact Dr. Norberto Gomez, Webmaster • (240) 567-5502 •


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